Mapping widespread and increasing underwater noise pollution from acoustic deterrent devices

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 2:51pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 10/2018
Authors: C.R. Findlay, H.D. Ripple, F. Coomber, K. Froud, O. Harries, N.C.F. van Geel, S.V. Calderan, S. Benjamins, D. Risch, B. Wilson
Journal title: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 135
Pages: 1042 - 1050
ISSN: 0025326X

Acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) are used in attempts to mitigate pinniped depredation on aquaculture sites through the emission of loud and pervasive noise. This study quantified spatio-temporal changes in underwater ADD noise detections along western Scotland over 11 years. Acoustic point data (‘listening events’) collected during cetacean line-transect surveys were used to map ADD presence between 2006 and 2016. A total of 19,601 listening events occurred along the Scottish west coast, and ADD presence was recorded during 1371 listening events. Results indicated a steady increase in ADD detections from 2006 (0.05%) to 2016 (6.8%), with the highest number of detections in 2013 (12.6%), as well as substantial geographic expansion. This study demonstrates that ADDs are a significant and chronic source of underwater noise on the Scottish west coast with potential adverse impacts on target (pinniped) and non-target (e.g. cetaceans) species, which requires further study and improved monitoring and regulatory strategies.

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