Scientific Correspondence

Nature 388, 525 (7 August 1997) |

Acoustic alarms reduce porpoise mortality

Scott D. Kraus1, Andrew J. Read2, Andrew Solow3, Ken Baldwin4, Trevor Spradlin5, Eric Anderson6 and John Williamson6

The most serious danger to dolphins and porpoises around the world is the threat from various forms of gill-net fishing. One potential way to reduce the number of deaths of marine mammals is the use of active acoustic alarms to warn animals about the presence of nets1. Until now, acoustic alarms have not been tested in field experiments with sufficient statistical power2. Here we describe a field experiment showing that acoustic alarms are effective at reducing the number of deaths of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in sink gill-nets.

  1. New England Aquarium, Edgerton Research Laboratory , Central Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, USA
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  2. Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort , North Carolina 28516, USA
  3. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
  4. Department of Ocean Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA
  5. Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA
  6. New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen's Association , Rye, New Hampshire 03780, USA .
  7. R. Barnaby, P. Ruell, K. Gestring and S. Drew facilitated data collection aboard the fishing vessels.