Long-term effectiveness of pingers on a small population of finless porpoises in Japan

Amano, M., Kusumoto, M., Abe, M., and Akamatsu, T.
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Endangered Species Research
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A long-term study assessed the efficiency of acoustic pingers (AQUAmark 100, 20-160kHz) in reducing the encounter rates of finless porpoises (Neophocaena spp.) with fishing nets. The study used a passive recorder to obtain acoustic encounter rates of echolocating finless porpoises over two eight-month periods. Encounter rates were significantly lower in periods when pingers were in use, but this effect decreased over time. By the end of each study period, the number of encounters was greater than those during periods without pingers, suggesting that habituation had occurred. However, when pingers were reactivated after four months of no use, encounters returned to lower levels, such as those observed during the beginning of the experiment. The results suggest that habituation to pingers may be mitigated by alternating periods of silence with periods of active pinger use.