Aquaculture Stewardship Council Approves GenusWave Technology
Leading International Environmental Body Approves GenusWave Technology for Keeping Mammals Safely Away from Marine Activity. ASC green-lights a system that triggers the flight response in targeted mammals and conditions them to avoid aquafarms and commercial fishing. Aquafarmers who adopt the new technology may avoid being shut out of U.S. markets by environmental protection laws.
May 29, 2020, University of St Andrews, Scotland — The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the international non-profit body that certifies responsible aquaculture practices, has approved Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) for use on ASC certified farms. The ASC is the standard bearer for sustainable aquaculture. Its stamp of approval is an important step toward TAST being adopted by salmon farms and commercial salmon fishing to keep predatory mammals away safely and humanely.
Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology is the only acoustic deterrent that has the ASC’s approval. The Council strictly prohibits the use of conventional acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs). As a consequence, retailers around the world such as IKEA, Carrefour, Walmart China and Alibaba have begun avoiding products not bearing the ASC-approved label. Carrefour, with more than12,200 stores in 30 countries, has explicitly endorsed the ASC standard. IKEA sells only ASC certified farm-raised salmon. These retailers can now accept salmon protected by Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology, as ASC has officially deemed that TAST is an acceptable predator management tool for ASC certified farms.
Developed by marine biologists at the University of St Andrews with initial funding from Marine Scotland, TAST is the only scientifically proven technology to humanely reduce seal predation in a way that’s environmentally compliant. The new system is calibrated to trigger the innate flight response in targeted mammals and to condition them to avoid productive marine activity. It requires only low noise doses and uses brief, isolated sound signals emitted at low duty cycles. Target-specificity is achieved by choosing a frequency band where the target species has more sensitive hearing than non-target species.
The startle reflex interrupts ongoing behavioral patterns, resets the body’s physiological state, and triggers a flight response. Research demonstrates that the startle response dispersal of predators reduces stress on farmed salmon — which translates into stronger immunity to disease, better appetites and faster growth. This results in better yields and higher revenues. Based on a 1,000-ton farm with an average 6% loss to seal predation, eliminating predation produces £830,000 in increased profitability per harvest. Research trials with fishing vessels have documented an average increase in catch of 70%, with one trial participant reporting his “best catch in ten years.”
Regulations to ban conventional ADDs
According to peer-reviewed research, conventional acoustic deterrent devices cause harm to marine mammals and the marine environment. Countries, including the United States, have prohibited ADDs, NGOs have labeled them destructive, and consumers and activists are hostile to their use. As more and more retailers require their producers to provide ADD-free salmon, it is only a matter of time before market condemnation completely forecloses their use.
Under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), effective January 1, 2022, aquafarms worldwide face a ban from exporting salmon to the US unless they prohibit the shooting of seals and the use of conventional acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs). Such a prohibition leaves the world’s aquafarmers and fishing operations vulnerable to predatory seals, which can deliver a crushing blow to their economic viability.
Thanks to the ruling by the ASC, TAST now satisfies the expectations and demands of salmon farmers, environmentalists and activist consumers, as well as foreign and domestic regulators.
GenusWave (www.GenusWave.com) is the technology innovator founded by marine biologists on the principle that wild animals and busy humans both need their space. The founding team developed Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) to provide a sustainable approach to managing predation while protecting animals from potential harm.
Developed at the world-renowned Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, the revolutionary GenusWave system generates brief, isolated signals that keep animals away without harming them or their environment. It is calibrated to trigger the targeted mammals’ innate flight instinct and to condition them to avoid the area. TAST is the only acoustic deterrent proven to be effective and harmless, as documented in published, peer-reviewed scientific literature.
GenusWave is adapting the technology to other situations in which wild animals and humans share our planet but have unwanted interaction, including deer-vehicle collisions and ship-whale strikes.