Bottom trawling noise: Are fishing vessels polluting to deeper acoustic habitats?

Last modified: 
December 14, 2020 - 7:16pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2021
Date published: 01/2021
Authors: Eoghan Daly, Martin White
Journal title: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 162
Pages: 111877
ISSN: 0025326X

The impact of bottom trawling noise was quantified on two surrounding marine acoustic habitats using fixed mooring acoustic recorders. Noise during trawling activity is shown to be considerably louder than ambient noise and a nearby underway research vessel. Estimated source levels were above cetacean damage thresholds. Measurements at a submarine canyon indicated potential noise focussing, inferring a role for such features to enhance down slope noise propagation at continental margin sites. Modelled sound propagates more efficiently when sourced from trawling gear dragging along the seabed relative to the vessel as a surface source. Results are contextualised with respect to marine mammal harm, to other anthropogenic ocean noise sources, topography and seasons. Noise energy emitted by bottom trawling activity is a source of pollution that requires further consideration, in line with other pervasive trawling pressures on marine species and seabed habitats, especially in areas of heightened ecological susceptibility.

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