Environmental Issue

Because of human activity, the sound intensity in certain sea areas increased by 20 decibels over the last 50 years. Studies in underwater bioacoustics demonstrated that noise pollution has dangerous consequences on marine wildlife. People usually think about marine mammals because of their hearing sensitivity and of their dependence on underwater sound to feed, migrate and communicate, but many more marine organisms are affected by sound.

Scientific studies underline that underwater noise pollution, in particular at low frequencies, has significant consequences on certain species of fish, turtles and cephalopods. The noise is a variation of pressure which can have consequences on the marine fauna from a simple annoyance to physical injuries on sensing organs leading to loss of hearing sensitivity, trauma, embolism, etc. Those threats can cause disturbances of behaviour such as stress, flight behaviours, avoidance and can also lead to animal death.

Turbidity impact on marine ecosystems was also studied by scientists. Because turbidity blocks light penetration, it directly impacts the growth of benthic life. Materials in suspension in water modify the filtration capacity of bivalves and pelagic species with a huge impact on young animals. Finally, turbidity caused by disturbance of the soil frees chemical substances trapped and accumulated for decades in the sea floor that can come in suspension in the sea column and then the human food chain. It can also reach mortal thresholds for living species.

This bioaccumulation phenomenon requires monitoring of water quality and marine sediments. Moreover, harbour zones are more affected by these pollutions and need particular attention.


The aim of project AGESCIC is to address these issues thanks to a set of innovative solutions to highly reduce acoustic and turbidity impacts of coastal infrastructure construction.

The AGESCIC system combines three solutions:

  • SubSea Quieter, an innovative underwater noise and turbidity containment system
  • SmartPAM+, a smart connected buoy that monitors in real time the levels of turbidity and underwater noise to ensure conformity and alert if necessary. SmartPAM+ also monitors animal soundsby passive acoustics to assess and reduce the impact of coastal works on the ecosystem
  • HAREST, a system to rehabilitate ecological habitats in the vicinity of the construction sites, combined with an integrated visual and acoustic biodiversity monitoring system.

AGESCIC has four main objectives:

  1. 1. To adapt these three solutions to real sea and coastal works conditions, with a trusted and already operating actor
  2. 2. To manufacture, test and assess the performance of the AGESCIC System in real conditions. The solution will be deployed during a costal construction phase. Technical performances will be measured and the impacts on the local ecosystem will be evaluated.
  3. 3. To assess the environmental cost / benefit ratio of deploying the AGESCIC System on a European scale. The environmental benefits will be studied in 5 control sites selected in Europe. The results obtained from these 5 sites will then be extrapolated to all European coastal sites identified for the 2017 period.
  4. 4. To design the commercial development of the AGESCIC System, which will provide environmental and employment benefits. The aim is to offer to European actors of the coastal construction industry a set of full services, ready to use solutions, efficient and produced in Europe.

Actions list

To adapt these three solutions to real life conditions

We will base our work on the weather hydrological conditions identified at the pilot site and on the ecosystems present in the zone. We will also install all three systems as part of a full and complete solution thus addressing impact reduction with a global and coordinated approach. Partial components and/or parts of the system at a reduced scale will be manufactured and tested prior to the real-scale demonstration.

Manufacture and deploy the systems in the pilot site

The AGESCIC Systems will be tested in real conditions.

Performance and resistance to sea conditions of the SubSea Quieter system will be measured through dives, and noise and turbidity measurement campaigns.

The data transmitted by SmartPAM+ and sensor calibration will  be used to assess the performance of the system.

Finally, the performance of the HAREST system will be evaluated through visual and acoustic monitoring at the pilot site. The bioacoustic data collected near artificial habitats combined with the visual data will be analysed to validate the operational efficiency of the ecological restoration system.

The environmental impact reductions on the pilot site will be measured using the performance results obtained by AGESCIC components. It will then be compared to an existing and updated knowledge base compiled from publications on noise and turbidity sensitive marine species. This comparison will help us to estimate the level of danger caused by coastal works on the ecosystem.

Evaluate the environmental and economic gains made by extending the solutions to aEuropean scale

We will evaluate the environmental cost/benefit ratios based on:

  • Studies and simulations of the devices used on 5 control sites in Europe 
  • An in-depth adaptation study for 2 sites
  • An updated knowledge base of noise or turbidity sensitive marine species
  • The results obtained on these control sites will be extended to coastal work carried out in Europe to assess the environmental and socio-economic benefits of this solution at a European level

AGESCIC after life plan: GREENOV spin-off offering the complete solution to European actors

In order for the project to have a real and major environmental impact, dissemination of project results is crucial. AGESCIC after life plan aims at developing and commercializing its solution to provide an efficient low cost solution for coastal works all around European shores.

Technologies presentation

SubSea Quieter

SubSea Quieter is a containment & mitigation system for small to very large marine areas, covering up to several thousand of m3. It is composed of a sea proven multilayer membrane reducing both acoustic propagation and turbidity pollution. This system is designed to last long periods under water and manage extreme sea conditions: tides, storms, ocean current, etc. SubSea Quieter offers a unique easy-to-use, resistant and disruptive solution suitable to any type of coastal infrastructure construction.


More information


The HAREST (HAbitat REhabilitation STrategy) is designed to rehabilitate habitats impacted by coastal construction work for fish and invertebrate populations, by offering artificial habitat structures adapted to local environmental and ecological conditions. HAREST includes a combined visual and acoustic monitoring system to track the strategy efficiency through biodiversity indicators of colonization and repopulation.


More information


SmartPAM+ (Smart Passive Acoustic Monitoring) provides real-time acoustic and turbidity impact assessment and ecosystem monitoring. This system is made of a wireless autonomous buoy that measures, analyses and communicates in real time suspended particles and underwater noise levels.


More information

Macro Planning


Coastal work impact on European ecosystem studies

Scientific knowledge gathering on acoustic and turbidity impacts over European coastal ecosystems

Mapmaking of 2017 European coastal work project: type, characteristics and place

Acoustic and turbidity theoretical impact studies on the ecosystem next to coastal works


End of development and adaption of the 3 technologies 

SubSea Quieter: Impact containment & mitigation system

SmartPAM+: Real-time acoustic/turbidity impact assessment and ecosystem monitoring system

2020 - 2021

The COVID situation has affected in many ways the implementation timeline of the project. The AGESCIC consortium has worked hard to be fully prepared for the next phase of the project in 2022.


Real condition test in the pilot harbour

HAREST development and tests

Manufacture and implementation of the 3 technologies in the pilot harbour

Acoustic and turbidity levels measurement with and without SubSea Quieter

Impact assessment on the ecosystem with and without AGESCIC system


AGESCIC after Life : beginning of the commercial phase

AGESCIC system’s performance assessment at the pilot site

Socio-economics impacts assessment of the project

Commercial phase kick off and adaptation studies for other European regions

Normative framework and coastal work impacts management guide drafting


The project main benefit is the protection and restoration of the environment around coastal maritime construction. Additionally to higher acoustic and turbidity mitigation levels, AGESCIC solution does consume less energy and creates less greenhouse gases than existing solutions. For a 6-month coastal work, it has been estimated that the AGESCIC solution will create 8.1t of CO² and consume 0.09GWh. ie, 99% less than bubble curtain, the most commonly used system for underwater noise mitigation.

The better implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive thanks to this project will have direct effects on people, communities and companies directly impacted by the preservation of the environment.