NEW ZEALAND SEISMIC CODE OF CONDUCT

A handheld GPS recording vessel coordinates during a seismic survey. © OSC 2014.

A handheld GPS recording vessel coordinates during a seismic survey. © OSC 2014.

Under the New Zealand seismic code of conduct all Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Operators must have the required proficiencies in specified areas (DOC, 2013).

MMO & PAM OPERATOR STANDARDS

Both MMOs and PAM Operators must exhibit the following competencies, as a minimum:

  • An understanding of the Code’s mitigation and reporting requirements;
  • Navigation (e.g. true vs magnetic north, course vs heading);
  • Plotting positions of marine mammals in relation to vessel and acoustic source; and,
  • An understanding of pertinent aspects of marine seismic surveys.

MMO STANDARDS

Marine Mammal Observers must also demonstrate their ability to:

  • Measure distance, true speed, and direction of travel of marine mammals, and vessel movement; and,
  • Detect and identify New Zealand marine mammal species, and assess their behaviour/activity.

In order to demonstrate the above abilities, MMOs must be able to use the following tools:

  • Reticle binoculars and/or sextant for medium to long-range (>500 m) distance estimation;
  • Measuring sticks (in addition to reticle binoculars or sextant) for short-range distance estimation;
  • Angle boards and compass for calculating bearing from vessel; and,
  • GPS to record vessel coordinates and download track logs.

PAM OPERATOR STANDARDS

Passive Acoustic Monitoring Operators must also demonstrate their ability to:

  • Optimise, deploy, and configure PAM equipment to ensure effective detections of cetaceans for mitigation purposes;
  • Detect and identify vocalising species or cetacean groups; and,
  • Measure distance and bearing of vocalising cetaceans, where possible, while accounting for vessel movement.

TRAINING COURSES

During any training course prospective MMO and PAM Operators must demonstrate their ability to meet the standards listed above, as a minimum.

REFERENCES

DOC (2013): 2013 Code of conduct for minimising acoustic disturbance to marine mammals from seismic survey operations.
Publishing Team, Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 36.

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