[MARMAM] Beaked Whales and Acoustic Pingers

Jim Carretta Jim.Carretta at noaa.gov
Mon Nov 3 10:02:16 PST 2008


Dear colleagues,

A new paper on beaked whale sensitivity to acoustic pingers has just 
been published in Marine Mammal Science:

Carretta, J.V., J. Barlow, and L. Enriquez.  2008.  Acoustic pingers 
eliminate beaked whale bycatch in a gill net fishery.  Marine Mammal 
Science 24(4):956-961.

The results have implications on the current debate about the effects of 
Navy sonar on beaked whales, which was highlighted most recently in U.S. 
Supreme Court proceedings.  In summary, we found that the use of 
acoustic pingers in a gillnet fishery completely eliminated the bycatch 
of beaked whales, whereas other cetacean species continued to be caught, 
though at much lower levels than they were before pinger use.  The two 
main conclusions are 1) that beaked whales are much more sensitivie to 
acoustic pingers (and perhaps other anthropogenic sounds) than other 
cetacean species and  2) this finding highlights recent concerns about 
potential threats that some sound sources (such as sonars) may pose to 
beaked whales.




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