Marine Mammal Observers (MMO)

MMO aboard exploration jack-up drilling-rig in the Danish sector of the North Sea. A short video clip of this can be see at

Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) aboard exploration jack-up drilling-rig in the Danish sector of the North Sea. A short video clip of this can be see at http://youtu.be/d65GAQRWf6A. © OSC 2012.

Ocean Science Consulting’s marine mammal observers (MMO) and marine mammal and protected species observers (MMPSO) are highly qualified professionals that specialise in the visual observation of marine mammals (e.g. whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals etc.), birds and other wildlife (e.g. turtles) during industrial projects that generate underwater noise. These activities include: seismic surveys, seabed mapping during site-surveys for pipe-laying, dredging, piling during windfarm/marine renewable energy device (turbines) or bridge construction, oil rig decommissioning, involving often the use of explosives and military exercises, especially the use of Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) or Mid Frequency Active Sonar (MFAS).

Ocean Science Consulting’s marine mammal observers are often used in conjunction with our passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) operators (www.passiveacousticmonitoring.com) and systems available for hire (see www.osc.co.uk) The majority of our marine mammal observers are also trained passive acoustic monitoring operators, which allows a high degree of flexibility in the working offshore environment.

Guidelines

Environmental regulations, such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) have been written specifically to mitigate the potential effects of these industrial anthropogenic sounds on marine wildlife, in particular, oil and gas exploration such as seismic and drilling activities. These guidelines focus generally on the gradual build-up (or ramp-up) of power or the delay or shut-down of a sound source if a whale, dolphin, porpoise, seal or other marine wildlife is sighted within a specific “mitigation zone” (usually between 500-1000 m). Ocean Science Consulting’s marine mammal observers are all trained JNCC observers and are not only well-versed in the use of all world-wide mitigation guidelines but are obligated contractually to continually update their knowledge on changes to mitigation legislation.

Degree level-qualified scientists

Traditionally, marine mammal observers are subcontractors or free-lancers, but their quality and expertise varies considerably. Ocean Science Consulting strives to use, wherever possible, full-time employees as marine mammal observers and passive acoustic monitoring operators.

All Ocean Science Consulting’s marine mammal observers and passive acoustic monitoring operators have marine biology (or equivalent) undergraduate degrees as a minimum requirement and have also undergone extensive pre-employment long-term trainee programmes. As a result, the standard of Ocean Science Consulting’s marine mammal observers and passive acoustic monitoring operators are second-to-none, and this is reflected in our excellent ISO 9001 reporting standards. All our observers hold the full suite of up-to-date offshore training and medical certificates, are fully-insured and benefit from 24-hour land-based logistical and expert technical support throughout the entire survey duration.

Company experience

Ocean Science Consulting Ltd. has been operating since 2004 and gains most of its work from repeat client contracts. A sample list of past and ongoing marine mammal observer using clients include BASF, RWE Dea, Maersk, Shell, Noble Denton, SFF, PGS, Gardline, RSK, CGG Veritas, etc. A full list of clients, including client references/testimonials, are available upon request.

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