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Why scientists are scaring seals away from salmon

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Top 3 Best, Latest News:  This article was originally hakai magazine, an Online publication on science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more articles like this at

Each summer, thousands of visitors gather at Ballard Lock near Seattle, Washington, to watch steelhead trout, coho, sockeye, and chinook salmon brave the fishway from Puget Sound to Lake Washington and beyond to spawn. Observe how it jumps into the air. Similarly, do a handful of hungry seals and sea lions.

“Pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) are much smarter than we believe,” says Laura Bogaard, an ecologist at the Oceans Initiative, a nonprofit research organization based in Seattle. increase. “They understood it was an all-you-can-eat buffet.”

For decades, Top 3 Best,  pinnipeds congregated at Ballard Locks to devour fish populations already stressed by pollution, habitat loss, and overfishing. In order to protect the fish, conservationists have tried various methods to drive them away. They set up fiberglass killer whales that made predatory calls and used a device called a pinger to try to scare away the pinnipeds. (It turned out that the pinger had more of a supper bell effect. A sealed bomb like a firecracker.

As per, Latest News: Nothing they have tried seems to work. The problem has persisted for so long that some conservationists advocate extreme measures such as culling the problem pinnipeds.

Andrew Trites, a pinniped researcher at the University of British Columbia, said: [pinnipeds] from doing such [has] It’s a positive reward that you can eat. Food is the ultimate payoff, which is why it was nearly impossible to quit. ”

But Bogaard says a new device called Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) seems to have worked where other approaches have failed.

From 2020 to 2022, Bogard tested TAST at Ballard Locks. She found that the number of seals in the area remained the same, but away from the fishway. However, the project was shut down in the summer of 2022 because the experimental protocol was incompatible with other controls used at Ballard Locks. Bogaard said one more salmon he chokes her point in Tumwater, Washington. He plans to continue testing the device at Falls Park and at, free classified ads sites.

TAST represents an exciting new advance in pinniped deterrence because it utilizes something called the acoustic startle reflex, says marine mammal researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who co-developed the technology, as per, websites to post free ads. says Thomas Götz. “If the sound has certain properties, it causes muscle contraction, flinching,” he says. For pinnipeds, he explains, the noise is like a nail on a chalkboard.

After years of studying the effects of sound on marine mammals, Götz, along with TAST’s main co-developer, Vincent Janik, also at the University of St. We have found it, but it is outside the sensitive hearing range of other wildlife such as salmon and whales. They also found that, unlike existing acoustic deterrents such as pingers, to which pinnipeds eventually acclimatize, TAST’s particularly jarring noise produces flight responses that appear to intensify with repetition.

of Goetz’s experiment In a Scottish fish farm, the use of TAST reduced pinniped predation by 97%. The technology is currently being used on fish farms in Scotland and Norway, where Götz is studying its potential to keep pinnipeds and whales out of fishing nets and oil spills.

Trites, who was not involved in the study, said TAST has exciting potential. “It’s a beautiful concept, but I think it needs more testing and validation to make sure it works.” It states that it can be nuanced as per, websites to post free ads.

Bogaard is also cautiously optimistic about the technology but cautions that it’s not a silver bullet to save endangered fish.

“I think it definitely shows a lot of potential in terms of its ability to keep seals away from specific areas of concern, along with other management methods,” she says. If that’s the end goal, she adds, more needs to be done on, free classified ads protect the watersheds where salmon spawn.

This article first appeared in hakai magazine, Republished here with permission.

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