Previous MMO Courses

THE COURSES: Oceanomare Delphis Onlus has organized, for the first time in Italy, a training course for Marine Mammal Observer (MMO). The course was held in Rome,  on August 25th 2012 and was led by Caroline Barton (, the first Marine Mammal Observer engaged in work on ships with the aim of seismic survey in the waters of the United Kingdom. 

Carolyn has also worked as an MMO on drilling rigs and dredging operations. 24 participants belonging to ODO, Logging Pelagos and ISPRA attended the course and received a certificate of MMO approved by the JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee).

The course was repeated, with the same teacher, on March 9th, 2014 hosted by the Hotel School in Ostia (Rome- Italy).


mmo jointnature


The Joint Nature Conservation Committee has expressed specific guidelines to minimize the risk of disturbance and physical damage to marine mammals in the course of various industrial activities in the waters of the United Kingdom. Other regulatory agencies have also adopted similar mitigation measures for specific areas. These include: California, Australia, Canada, Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand and Sakhalin. 


A Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) is a qualified professional responsible for the implementation of mitigation measures to protect marine animals during industrial activities (seismic surveys, use of explosives, pile-driving, tutorials military mapping of the seabed and dredging) that generate underwater noise.

As a result of growing concern about the effects of high levels of artificial noise emitted in the oceans, particularly on cetaceans - known for their acoustic sensitivity - environmental regulations have been introduced in an attempt to minimize negative impacts on marine life.

The main role of a Marine Mammal Observer is to advise and implement the guidelines established by international organizations in collaboration with the laws of their country, in order to reduce the possible risk of disturbance and physical damage to marine mammals and sea turtles.

MMOs often use passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) to detect marine mammals acoustically by means of hydrophones; this is a technique more commonly used in addition to visual surveys. MMOs usually have a strong background in biology and marine conservation. Increasingly, the industry is using as 'good practice' an attitude of commitment to the environment and voluntarily assumes MMO as independent observers in areas where there are still no government regulations. In some circumstances, the guidelines may be open to interpretation or unique environmental conditions and the Marine Mammal Observer will be required to advise the application of a reasonable protocol to mitigate the disturbance.