Acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) are used to deter seals from aquacultures but exposure of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) occurs as a side-effect. At construction sites, by contrast, ADDs are used to deter harbour porpoises from the zone in which pile driving noise can induce temporary threshold shifts (TTSs). ADDs emit such high pressure levels that there is concern that ADDs themselves may induce a TTS. A harbour porpoise in human care was exposed to an artificial ADD signal with a peak frequency of 14 kHz. A significant TTS was found, measured by auditory evoked potentials, with an onset of 142 dB re 1 μPa2s at 20 kHz and 147 dB re 1 μPa2s at 28 kHz. The authors therefore strongly recommend to gradually increase and down regulate source levels of ADDs to the desired deterrence range. However, further research is needed to develop a reliable relationship between received levels and deterrence.
The use of seal scarers as a protective mitigation measure can induce hearing impairment in harbour porpoisesa)
Tobias Schaffeld, Andreas Ruser, Benno Woelfing, Johannes Baltzer, Jakob H. Kristensen, Josefin Larsson, Joseph G. Schnitzler, Ursula Siebert; The use of seal scarers as a protective mitigation measure can induce hearing impairment in harbour porpoises. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 December 2019; 146 (6): 4288–4298. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5135303
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