Migrating humpback whales show no detectable response to whale alarms off Sydney, Australia

Authors: 

Pirotta, V., Slip, D., Jonsen, I.D., Peddemors, V.M., Cato, D.H., Ross, G. and R. Harcourt

Year: 

2016

Journal/Publisher Name: 

Endangered Species Research

Volume (Issue #): 

29

Page #s: 

201-209

Contact information: 

Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia; vanessa.pirotta@students.mq.edu.au
Summary: 

The ability of acoustic alarms to alert migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to fishing gear was tested. Two alarms were used, each with a distinct tone. One alarm had a 5 kHz tone (5 s emission interval and 400 ms emission duration), and one had a 2-2.1 kHz swept tone (8 s emission interval and 1.5 s emission duration). The response of the whales in terms of changes to surface behavior and travel direction were investigated. A total of 108 migration tracks were collected using a theodolite. The study was conducted at Cape Solander, Sydney, Australia. The whales showed no detectable response to either of the alarms; direction and surfacing behavior did not vary between when the alarms were on or off. These types of tones are unlikely to be effective as whale entanglement deterrents.

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