Many fish farmers use high-power acoustic deterrent or harassment devices (ADDs & AHDs) to keep seals away from their fish. However, there are several disadvantages to these devices:
There is a new alternative that can help fish farmers keep seals away from their fish. This new solution activates the acoustic startle reflex in the seals, and addresses concerns raised by the ADD and AHD devices:
This method works! Studies conducted in Argyle showed 91-97% less seal predation over one year when using the startle-reflex system.
A prototype of the targeted acoustic startle technology (TAST) has been used experimentally in an industrial setting, and is now in production (www.Genuswave.com). TAST has recently been granted a variance request by a leading industry body, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) which now permits its use on their certified farms. The ASC accepted TAST as a sustainable predator management tool that ‘…promotes both environmental protection and healthy fish’
1 Götz, T. & Janik, V. M. (2013). Acoustic Deterrent Devices to Prevent Pinniped Depredation Efficiency, Conservation Concerns and Possible Solutions. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 492, 285–302. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10482
2 Götz, T. & Janik, V. M. (2010). Aversiveness of Sounds in Phocid Seals: Psycho-Physiological Factors, Learning Processes and Motivation. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213, 1536-48. doi: 10.1242/jeb.035535 https://jeb.biologists.org/content/213/9/1536.long
3 Götz, T., & Janik, V.M. (2011). Repeated elicitation of the acoustic startle reflex leads to sensitisation in subsequent avoidance behaviour and induces fear conditioning. BMC Neuroscience, 12(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-12-30 https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-12-30.
4 Götz, T., & Janik, V.M. (2015). Target-specific acoustic predator deterrence in the marine environment. Animal Conservation, 18(1), 102-111. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12141
5 Götz, T & Janik, V. M. (2016). Non-lethal management of carnivore predation: long-term tests with a startle reflex-based deterrence system on a fish farm. Animal Conservation, 19(3), 212-221. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12248
6 ASC https://asc-portal.force.com/interpret/s/article/VR334-Salmon-v-1-2-2-5-1