Impact of Boat Noise on the Behaviour of Pacific Salmon, Herring and Yellowtail Rockfish

The short term behavioural effects of boat noise was tested on three commercially important, fish species; Atlantic salmon, herring and Yellowtail Rockfish. During the study period the animals were housed inside net-pens suspended in open water, where they were monitored using an underwater camera and hydrophone. Exposure to boat noise was created by driving a small, 8 hp, boat passed the nets at varying speeds and distances. Rockfish had to be excluded from data analysis as no video recordings of their behaviour had been collected. A significant behavioural response of herring and salmon to the passage of the boat was found. Both species responded to the boat passage by increasing fast movements and forming a tight (polarised) school. Only herring showed a response after the end of the exposure period indicating a possible long term behavioural effect. No effect of sound pressure level (boat noise) was observed. Results from this study indicate the need similar studies that analyse the effects of the increasing noise level on fish species.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Rob Williams

ISCED Categories

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0521 - Ecology