#SoundtheAlarm, #KieranCox, #GlobalChangeBiology, #FrancisJuanes
Victoria (B.C.), Apr 4 (Canadian-Media): According to a new study entitled Sound the Alarm, led by the University of Victoria, reveals that besides plastics and oil aren't the only kind of pollution to have a negative impact on aquatic species. human-caused noise is also changing the ability of fish to forage, reproduce and avoid predators, media reports said.
"In terms of fish behaviour and physiology, it's negative responses across the board," said Kieran Cox, a doctoral student at the University of Victoria, British Columbia (B.C.).
Kieran Cox. Image credit: uvic.ca
The research conducted by the collaborative team, led by Cox and fish ecologist, Francis Juanes, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology.
They reviewed 42 studies involving human-caused underwater noise and its impact on fish.
Studies have already been conducted by researchers regarding the impact of underwater noise pollution on larger creatures like killer whales, but the research team says fish also pay a price for living in increasingly noisy waters.
Approximately 700 fish species reportedly use sound to communicate.
The researchers found that even the noise from a small boat motor can be disruptive.
"Their foraging behavior, their perception of predation, all of these kinds of things are affected," said Cox.
And, just with like humans, unexpected noises can be frightening for fish.
"Stress in fish is going up, across species and across experimental conditions," he said.
Cox believes underwater noise pollution is a problem that needs more attention. The study found that noise in the ocean has been increasing steadily in the past few decades.
“We are only beginning to understand fish communication and the implications of anthropogenic noise,” says UVic biologist Francis Juanes, who is also the Liber Ero Chair in Fisheries Research. “It’s an understudied area that requires more research to determine the extent of the problem and potential solutions.”
Biology professor Francis Juanes with lab manager Jessica Qualley taking acoustic recordings. Image Credit: UVic
More studies are underway, including research on the impact of noise on British Columbia's salmon populations.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced an investment of $3.1 million last week, which will reportedly help increase our understanding of the impact of underwater noise on our marine environment.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#endangeredwhales, #NorthAtlanticrightwhales, #GulfofSt.Lawrence, #DominicLeBlanc, #MarcGarneau, #TonyaWimmer
Ottawa/Washington, Apr 3 (Canadian-Media) : At least 18 of the endangered whales have been found dead since last year, 12 in Canadian waters and six in U.S waters, federal government reported last week, media reports said.
The primary cause of these deaths scientists believed was human activity including shipping and fishing.
New measures to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, including an earlier start to the snow crab fishing season in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence -- outlet of the North American Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean, -- fixed and temporary closures where whales are spotted, and an earlier speed restriction for ships in the western gulf.
Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Transport Canada Minister Marc Garneau indicated the measures are intended to reduce the risk of whale becoming entangled in fishing gear or being struck by ships.
Dominic Leblanc. Image credit: Facebook page
Other measures reported to be taken include, restriction of the speed of the vessels when travelling in the western part of the gulf again this year, will take effect on April 28, instead of Aug. 11, said Marc Garneau and the mandatory speed limit will remain in place until Nov. 15.
Marc Garneau. Image credit: Facebook page
These new measures were welcomed by Tonya Wimmer, director of the Marine Animal Response Society and reportedly expressed the changes will help protect many other species as well.
"If we continued to really not do much at all, there are good odds those animals would disappear from this planet," she said.
There were reportedly only about 450 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, and of those, only about 100 are reproducing females.
"So I think the announcements today were very much a reflection of the concern of everyone...we really do have to raise the bar in terms of putting in place measures to protect them."
Although no new calves have been spotted yet this year in the calving grounds off Florida, LeBlanc dismissed any suggestion that the government's measures are too late.
"I'm never pessimistic about these things," he said and added there was an urgency to act quickly.
LeBlanc said all snow crab fishing fleets in the Gulf of St. Lawrence fishing region known as area 12 will begin simultaneously as soon as it was safe to do so.
The season normally begins around mid-April, but a Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker is expected to be in northern New Brunswick later this week or early next week to open some of the fishing harbors, he said.
"We're doing everything we can to open the season as soon as possible," said LeBlanc.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)