Imagine, sound waves calibrated to specific species that trigger their innate startle response, driving them away from human activity without harming them. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s fact. This high-tech sound ¬– which works like a dog whistle in reverse – is created by Targeted Acoustic Sound Technology (TAST) and is light-years more
advanced than primitive acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs). With TAST, animals do not habituate to the startle reflex. Exposure to the high-tech sound only leads to increased sensitivity and proclivity to flee the designated area.
Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) is a breakthrough that’s transforming how wild animals are kept away from human activity. How does it work? TAST has an adjustable duty cycle and deterrence range that can be matched to a specific species. It’s been 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. TAST emits brief, isolated sound pulses at a duty cycle that can be more than one order of magnitude lower than primitive acoustic
deterrent devices (ADDs). For example, there is a severe and escalating level of ensonification off 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 a 14km (~8.5mi) distance. They can cause habitat exclusion in non-target species. Both targeted and non-targeted species risk hearing damage if they 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 can be tiring for all animals, not just for human beings. It consumes an animal’s energy and, in the case of fish, it can affect their health and quality as seafood. It can also lead to increased hormone levels, impairing the immune system and making fish susceptible to infection and disease. In fact, research points to higher bacterial disease among highly stressed fish. In one study, Atlantic salmon parr
were subjected continuously to a range of acute stressors for more than 30 days. Among fish that were stressed twice daily, the growth in their weight was 61% lower than in the control group after only 11 days. By decreasing or eliminating stress caused by seal predation, TAST may help boost salmons’ immune capacity, help prevent disease, and improve their quality and value.