Marine-Mammal-Observer-and-Passive-Acoustic-Monitoring-Handbook-3D-pages-outComposed from more than two decades of offshore experience, and a decade of supplying Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) services (commercial and scientific), the Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook, written by Ocean Science Consulting Ltd (, is a complete guide to marine mammal mitigation measures used during marine operations.

The Handbook consolidates all aspects of this discipline into one easily accessible resource. Topics include worldwide legislation, compliance, anthropogenic noise sources and potential effects, training, offshore life, visual and acoustic monitoring (theory and practice), and report writing.

For more information on topics covered, intended readership, and author biographies see


Applications of the Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Handbook are vast; it is an invaluable resource for everyone working in the marine mammal field, whether from an industry and mitigation perspective or scientific.


The handbook stands to benefit all involved in marine mammal mitigation offshore, regardless of location, role, or experience.

Firstly, it provides background information on issues of marine mammals and noise, and enlightens readers to the point, and importance, of marine mammal mitigation. Secondly, it outlines mitigation measures in use currently, and summarises all MMO and PAM guidelines worldwide. All-encompassing distribution and hearing tables enable anyone to identify quickly which species are likely to occur in a survey area and/or be affected potentially by the industrial sound source. Armed with this handbook, all personnel will know what mitigation is required, and where.

A Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) recording data in the North Sea. © OSC 2013.

A Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) recording data in the North Sea. © OSC 2013.

For those interested in entering the industry, or perhaps working in a new, unfamiliar region, the handbook outlines the training and qualifications required. It also offers advice on living and working in offshore environments, and gives new MMOs and PAM operators an idea of what to expect when heading offshore. Operations are discussed separately, so experienced MMOs or PAM operators branching into new areas (e.g. offshore installations for the first time) know what differences to expect, and how to alter their preparation accordingly. Moreover, sound advice on implementation of mitigation measures is provided, and can be sourced quickly and efficiently should situations arise. With this Handbook, MMOs and PAM operators will be able to respond knowledgeably to questions on the job, whether during general client liaison, project kick-off meetings, or in conversation with interested crewmembers.

Detecting marine mammals in the field is always challenging, and use of MMO and PAM is not always 100% effective, but with adequate training and knowledge, MMO and PAM operators can offer the most effective mitigation solution available. This handbook provides that essential knowledge, and teaches key skills such as range finding, and how to optimise a PAM system to ensure the best chance of detection. This benefits industry all-round, as it ensures mitigation measures are applied accurately; poor range-finding skills mean exclusion zones can be under or over estimated.

The handbook dispels myths on what is achievable currently on marine mammal mitigation, considering physics of sound propagation, and limitations of visual observation and current PAM technologies. Readers should understand sensible and practical mitigation techniques and recognise substandard mitigation procedures and equipment in-use currently throughout industry. Clients equipped with this knowledge can ensure only the best MMO and PAM operators are hired, and only the highest quality equipment is utilised, thus increasing mitigation standards worldwide.

Finally, by bringing all aspects of this industry together into one easily accessible resource, this Handbook is an asset to all involved in this discipline, and is a worthwhile accompaniment to all MMO, Protected Species Observer (PSO), Marine Fauna Observer (MFO), Marine Mammal and Seabird Observer (MMSO), and PAM courses worldwide.


Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in New Zealand. © OSC 2013.

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in New Zealand. © OSC 2013.

The handbook focuses on marine mammal mitigation in industry; however; scientists, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), marine mammal charities, students, and general public with an interest in marine mammals should not be dissuaded, as it is an invaluable resource.

For those working in the field, it offers sound advice on data collection, and touches on methodologies such as distance sampling. Information is provided on how to look for, and photograph, marine mammals, and although not a substitute for a detailed identification guide, the handbook offers advice on visually, and acoustically detecting and identifying species.

The handbook provides substantial background information on marine mammals, with up to date literature reviews, and a series of six comprehensive reference tables on worldwide distribution, hearing ranges, and vocalisations of all marine mammal species and subspecies based on the very latest scientific research papers.


The handbook is available for purchase at a retail price of £59.99 (hardback) or £34.99 (paperback). The handbook is available for purchase from the following sites: