New paper: Pelagic fish at sea did not swim away in response to sound

We just published a new paper ‘An experimental sound exposure study at sea: No spatial deterrence of free-ranging pelagic fish‘ and it’s open access (link)! The paper is authored by Jozefien M. Demuynck, M. Rafa Remmelzwaal, Carlota Muñiz, Elisabeth Debusschere, Benoit Berges, Hans Slabbekoorn and myself.

We performed a playback experiment at sea to explore the potential of sound in herding pelagic fish away from potential danger, for example pile driving or detonation of explosives. In order to test this, we made a transect of four frames (about 700 m apart) to monitor fish. During this period, we performed playbacks from a vessel and later derived fish presence and behaviour using the echosounders on the frames.

We found no responses to our sound playbacks, indicating that – at least the current sounds and levels – would not be successful in herding fish away from potential danger. We cannot exclude that other sounds would be successful, but it may also be that pelagic fish are more likely respond with subtle changes in schooling behaviour.

All data and scripts have been made publicly available too.