Terms of Reference

Overall remit

Spectrum chart: Image courtesy of Ocean Sonics Ltd.The purpose of the Underwater Sound Forum (USF) is to: i) provide a forum for interested individuals and organisations to present and exchange views and; ii) provide advice and guidance to the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC) and other interested parties on matters relating to underwater sound in the marine environment, in order to help shape and increase the effectiveness of UK marine expertise in this area.

The Underwater Sound Forum will report directly to the MSCC via the Chair of the Group.  The Group is expected to meet twice a year, although the dissemination of information and advice, provided by members, will take place throughout the year, and will be coordinated by the MSCC Secretariat who will provide support to the Forum.

The Forum is open to all interested individuals and organisations (at their own expense for attending meetings). There are no restrictions on membership. Although largely a UK organisation, participants from abroad are welcome to participate in Forum activities.

Key actions

To facilitate dialogue between stakeholders in the UK public (including Higher Education Institutions and the Royal Navy) and private sectors and/or users of underwater sound data, with the aim of providing advice and ‘fit for purpose’ guidance in regard to marine underwater sound.

To act as a forum for all sectors to input their views and suggestions, and to raise relevant issues. As appropriate, these will be distilled and then passed to the MSCC for information. This will help to ensure that the MSCC has an up-to-date understanding of issues regarding underwater sound when making strategic decisions about UK marine science.

To explore synergies between public and private sectors in a way that helps to develop the UK’s competitive science base. For example, by co-developing scientific activities, sharing knowledge (including data), and sharing information on law, policy and environmental issues.

Ongoing activities

The Forum will periodically provide the MSCC Secretariat with details of:

  • any current barriers to, and opportunities for, progress in underwater sound science;
  • any issues related to sound in the sea that are likely to emerge in the near- to medium-term future that will impact on the effectiveness of their sectors;
  • any suggestions about how UK science activities on sound in the marine environment could be more effectively undertaken within the UK or overseas;
  • any other relevant issues, views or concerns that the MSCC should consider.

Measures of success

Members of the Forum will have:

  • improved access to information on new research, findings and relevant developments in sound in the marine environment through regular updates;
  • gained a greater understanding of the public and private sectors' approaches to issues that they have in common;
  • engaged in concrete collaborative actions that implement the activities that have been proposed by the Forum and, where appropriate, agreed by the MSCC.


  • will understand better the marine science-related issues and opportunities of relevance to underwater sound and will have responded positively to them, wherever possible.