Fish and Ships

Thursday, January 18, 2018 by Jessica

When ships travel throughout the ocean, they make noise underwater that can impact marine life. There have been lots of studies done on how these noises can affect marine mammals, like whales and dolphins, but recently scientists have studied how ship noise is limiting the distance that Atlantic cod and haddock can communicate with one another in the Gulf of Maine. Scientists went to three different spawning sites, or the sites where these species of fish release their eggs for reproduction where there is also high ship traffic. They observed vocalizations from the fish, such as Atlantic cod grunts and haddock knocks on the ocean floor, and looked at how these noises differed in the presence or absence of the ship noise. When there were no ships present, the noises could be detected by other fish as far as 70 feet away. When there were ships within 10 miles of the fish, the noises could only be detected by fish 4 feet away. The ship noise was so loud that it made it so that the fish could not communicate with one another unless they were very close to each other.  When there is noise from ships in the water, fish have to change their behaviors because their sound signals are often lost or misinterpreted by the other fish around them. Atlantic cod use vocalizations to find mates and to listen for predators. If they can’t hear these signals, there is a chance that they will not be as successful reproductively, and that they will have a lower chance at surviving.  Did you know that noises in the ocean can affect the behavior of the animals that live there? Do you think that humans should do something to try to reduce the amount of noise that they produce in the ocean?

Fish and Ships


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