Stakeholder consultation on the JNCC guidelines for minimising the risk of injury and disturbance to marine mammals from seismic surveys


This consultation is now closed.
The revised guidelines can be found here.
Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation.


In 1995, the UK government adopted a set of guidelines developed by JNCC to minimise disturbance to small cetaceans from seismic surveys and other operations where acoustic energy is released.  Since then the JNCC guidelines have been revised on a number of occasions, taking into account stakeholder feedback, common issues encountered and new research into marine mammal hearing and sensitivity. The guidelines aim to reduce the risk of injury to marine mammals to negligible levels and help reduce the risk of disturbance.


The current version of the guidelines was published in August 2010 (JNCC, 2010). JNCC is now undertaking a new review to ensure the guidelines remain fit for purpose, are logistically feasible and provide the best available mitigation.

Please note, a stakeholder consultation on MMO training courses and standards is being developed by JNCC and will be carried out separately to this consultation.



In March 2015, JNCC published two reports; the first (Stone, 2015a) analysed seismic survey and marine mammal observer (MMO) data between 1994 and 2010 to assess the effects of seismic operations on marine mammals and identify general trends in compliance. The second (Stone, 2015b) assessed the level of compliance with the guidelines from 1995 to 2010 and highlighted items to be considered during the next guideline revision.


The results from these reports, together with general queries and feedback received from MMO reports, were used to generate an initial set of consultation questions. The information and opinions gathered during this consultation and the recommendations proposed by Stone, 2015b have been used to inform the draft revision of the JNCC seismic guidelines which are now presented for consultation.



A draft revision of the JNCC seismic guidelines can be found below (NO LONGER AVAILABLE).   Key revisions include:

  • Survey specific mitigation procedures for some types of seismic survey;
  • Further detail on assessment processes and potential information required to review applications;
  • Further detail on the requirements for MMO reports; and
  • The introduction of a non-compliance form.

In addition, clarification has been provided on general mitigation procedures.


This consultation has been designed to enable stakeholders to comment on each part of the guidelines with particular reference to ecological and practical suitability. This does mean there are a large number of questions, however we have provided a pdf of the questions alongside the revised guidelines to enable readers to familiarise themselves with the consultation questions ahead of completing the online survey. Throughout the consultation we request that when considering your answers, please set out your support and/ or concerns including any suggested changes and solutions, citing the specific section/ paragraph number which your comments refers to.