Jomopans: monitoring ambient noise in the North Sea

The aim of the Joint Monitoring Programme for Ambient Noise in the North Sea project (Jomopans) was to develop a comprehensive, operational joint programme for monitoring ambient noise in the North Sea.

This initiative underscores the importance of maintaining the health and welfare of marine animals.

Rijkswaterstaat recognises the crucial role that ambient noise monitoring plays in comprehending and mitigating the impact of infrastructure developments and maritime activities on marine life. This partnership offered an opportunity to collaborate with a range of stakeholders and help advance best practices in managing underwater noise.

Moreover, Rijkswaterstaat’s involvement underscores its commitment to sustainable development and a balanced approach to infrastructure management that respects and preserves marine ecosystems.

Strategies to mitigate the environmental impact of underwater noise

Noise can be heard underwater everywhere, at all times. It originates from natural sources, such as waves, weather and animals, but also from human activities, such as shipping and construction. The latter 2 are a particular concern for the nations in the North Sea Region as they can adversely impact the area’s vulnerable marine life. 

As mandated by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), these countries are required to address the issue collectively.

To meet this challenge, Jomopans employed an innovative blend of computational modelling and advanced sea measurements to establish a joint monitoring programme for ambient noise in the North Sea. 

It studied the effectiveness of multiple strategies for mitigating environmental impact through coordinated control measures across the entire North Sea Region.

The project yielded essential tools for managers, planners and other stakeholders, enabling them to integrate the effects of ambient noise into their assessments of the North Sea’s environmental health. The programme also paved the way for devising measures to enhance the environment.

Translating Jomopans’ success: best practice methods for European waters

The Jomopans project officially finished on 30 June 2022. Nevertheless, to follow up on the project’s successes, all countries bordering the North Sea have agreed to continue working together to monitor underwater noise. The methods that were developed for this project are now considered best practice for all European waters.

The knowledge and experience gained from the project are currently being used to incorporate the methodology into the procedures for the MSFD. Rijkswaterstaat continues to contribute to an effective transnational approach to underwater noise.

Project period

2015 - 2022

European programme

Interreg North Sea Region VB

Project website



Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency,TNO, Aarhus University, Swedish Defence Research Agency, Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Marine Scotland, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, National Physical Laboratory, and Institute of Marine Research.