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JNCC guidelines for minimising the risk of injury to marine mammals from geophysical surveys (seismic survey guidelines) 2017


These guidelines outline measures to minimise potential injury to marine mammals (cetaceans and seals) from geophysical surveys (e.g. seismic air-guns, sub-bottom profiling equipment).

In addition to the current guidelines (August 2017), a standardised marine mammal recording form is provided below. This is an Excel spreadsheet with embedded worksheets. A ‘deck form’ is also available, which marine mammal observers (MMOs) may prefer to use when observing before transferring the details to the Excel spreadsheets. A guide to completing these forms is also provided.

After each survey is complete, a ‘MMO report’ is submitted to the Regulator and JNCC along with the completed marine mammal recording forms. This report details how the guidelines were implemented, and any problems encountered or instances of non-compliance. Data from these forms is periodically analysed by JNCC, and a series of reports has been produced.

The ability to determine range is a key skill for MMOs and a useful tool to assist in this function is a rangefinding stick. Instructions on how to design and use a rangefinding stick are provided below.

The mitigation guidelines are supplemented by JNCC guidance for the use of Passive Acoustic Monitoring in UK waters, published in December 2023. This guidance aims to standardise when PAM is used to mitigate the risk of deliberate injury to marine mammals and provides guidance on how to deploy PAM systems.

For more information on marine mammals and noise mitigation, and to access the other guidelines (explosive use, piling), visit

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2017·08·01

Lineage Not known

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC author

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints no conditions apply

Metadata date 2024·02·22

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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