Attempts to develop acoustic methods of keeping cape fur seals Arctocephalus pusillus from fishing nets

  • Published source details Shaughnessy P.D., Semmelink A., Cooper J. & Frost P.G.H. (1981) Attempts to develop acoustic methods of keeping cape fur seals Arctocephalus pusillus from fishing nets. Biological Conservation, 21, 141-158.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Play predator calls to deter mammals from fishing gear

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Play predator calls to deter mammals from fishing gear

    A study in 1974 of pelagic sites in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of southern Africa (Shaughnessy et al. 1981) reported that playing killer whale Orcinus orca vocalizations underwater did not deter Cape fur seals Arctocephalus pusillus from fishing nets. Results are not based on assessments of statistical significance. During two trials with a purse-seine net, all of 15–25 seals feeding in the net responded to killer whale vocalizations by diving. Some seals (48–100%) initially moved out of the net but all returned within 30 seconds. The authors report that floating two life-sized models of killer whale dorsal fins amongst the seals during one of the trials did not affect seal behaviour (no data provided). Results were similar during a trial at a trawl net (data not reported). Recordings of killer whale vocalizations (clicks, whistles, squeaks) were played back through an underwater loudspeaker. Two trials (each with 2–14 minutes of playback) were carried out by a purse-seine fishing vessel with the net pursed to a 10-m diameter. One trial was carried out by a side-trawler vessel with the ‘cod-end’ (containing fish) in the water. Observers on board the fishing vessels recorded seal behaviour during each of the three trials in 1974.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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