Uncertainty over the extent to which small cetaceans are displaced by air-gun noise can constrain seismic survey activity within or near sensitive habitats. This paper outlines how recent exploration in the Moray Firth, NE Scotland, was managed to ensure compliance with the EU Habitats Directive, and describes the research programme that was undertaken to assess responses of harbour porpoise to a 10 day 2-D seismic survey in 2011. Passive acoustic monitoring and digital aerial surveys were used to detect changes in occurrence over a 2000 km2 study area. Although fine scale behavioural responses were detected, animals returned within a few hours and there was no evidence of larger-scale displacement.


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