Research has now shown that whales reduce some forms of important communication when excessive man-made noise is introduced to their underwater world. A study of humpback whales off the coast of Northern Angola has revealed that their singing during the breeding season is reduced in the presence of noise from underwater seismic surveying by oil and gas exploration companies. Song is a major part of the male courtship display in humpback whales and so any reduction could interfere with natural breeding behaviour.
More and more oil and gas companies are attracted to the African coast yet there are no international regulations governing noise pollution. More information is needed to determine the impact that seismic surveys (which fire loud noise into the seabed) are having on whales and dolphins. Apart from the resident populations of whales and dolphins in this part of Africa, the region is an important feeding and breeding ground, and migratory route for whales moving through these waters to other destinations.