More and more fishos are recognising how noise can influence catch, and are turning to use of electric outboards, poling, kayaking and even measures such as carpet-lining anchor wells to go full stealth mode and catch more fish.
Now research is showing that noise doesn’t just reduce fishing success – it can really stress fish out.
Researchers studying European freshwater fish species found that exposure to shipping noise can cause elevated levels of cortisol in species including carp and European perch, a key indicator of stress. Interestingly, species with poor hearing exhibited just as much stress as those with excellent hearing.
Other studies have shown that boat noise can interfere with fish communication, and even mate attraction.
While this news maybe great for those of us that love to fish in silence, the issue of noise pollution is a sleeping giant for those responsible for managing aquatic resources, as laws to limit pollution generally do not extend to noise.
Fortunately there are signs of change, with countries such as the United States developing policy to limit noise in the aquatic environment, a move welcomed by many who recognise the impacts for fishing and ecosystem health. Australia is yet to implement effective measures addressing this issue.
Are you still curious about the hearing biology of fish? On the Hi Tide show we have explained before “How do fish hear” https://soundcloud.com/user-16878951/how-do-fish-hear
For more information: