GenusWave’s signature research and testing has developed sound waves targeted for specific species that trigger their “startle response” to drive them away from human activity without harming them or other species. This acoustic technology replaces conventional, loud deterrents (to which predators habituate) with the
startle response system—activating the fundamental mammalian reflex that protects animals from harm. The key benefit of TAST technology is that predator seals do not habituate to the reflex; exposure only leads to increased sensitivity and proclivity to swim away.
Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology has an adjustable duty cycle and deterrence range that can be matched to the repsective application. In previous applications, the device was successful at deterring animals and reducing depredation when operating at a duty cycle of less than 1%. The effect can be localized to less than 250m. The Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology system emits brief, isolated sound pulses at a duty cycle that can be more than one order of magnitude lower than many conventional acoustic deterrent systems.
For example, there is a severe and escalating level of ensonification of the Scottish West Coast, which includes multiple protected areas for marine mammals. Conventional ADD’s can exceed a 50% duty cycle and can be heard over 14km (~8.5mi) distant. Conventional ADDs can cause habitat exclusion in non-target species, risking hearing damage in target and non-target species if animals remain in the area for extended period of times.
Studies on captive animals have demonstrated that the likelihood of a flight response and the strength of the avoidance behavior increased with each successive exposure. In contrast, seals have been shown to habituate rapidly to conventional acoustic deterrent devices.
Additionally, there is research backed correlation between the use of conventional Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADD) and seal depredation; seals appear to associate the sound from the acoustic deterrent device with food and are lured to the farm - this is known as the ‘Dinner Bell Effect’.
Stress consumes an animal’s energy and potentially affects fish health and the quality of the food supply chain. By decreasing or removing predation stress, TAST may help boost an animal's immune capacity and help prevent disease. Stress can lead to increased stress hormone levels, impairing the immune system and making fish susceptible to infection and disease.
Research points to higher bacterial disease among high stress fish. For example, in one study on Atlantic Salmon Parr were subjected continuously to a range of acute stressors for over 30 days. Among fish that were stressed twice daily, the growth in the animal's weight was 61% lower than the control group after only 11 days and 50% lower after 30-days.