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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    West Coast
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    Default Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Recently we were anchored by Tanera Mor in the Summer Isles and the 9 fish farm cages in the bay were constantly putting out a very audible clicking (like a cricket) noise which was quite loud down below deck. This was the first time that we have been consciously aware of this noise pollution.

    Then on Sunday night, BBC Countryfile had a very good item on the proliferating use of these Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADD) which scare off all marine mammals who use sonar to communicate and hunt. The fish farm representative could not answer the direct questions and kept saying "we need further evidence" despite its own expert consultants confirming the deleterious effects on seals, porpoises, dolphins and whales (he forgot to mention us ).

    If it is annoying for us in the boat, think what it is like for the marine animals.
    Chris
    Out west.... (or in the office)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    up on the moors.
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    33,290

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    It might be worth you approaching the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

    https://www.sepa.org.uk/

    I expect that SEPA will have had to be involved at some stage in granting permission (if it exists !) for such devices.


    here's a start page.

    https://www.sepa.org.uk/regulations/...e-environment/
    I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Southminster, essex
    Posts
    9,226

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Quote Originally Posted by ctva View Post

    If it is annoying for us in the boat, think what it is like for the marine animals.
    yes, but the point is you did not nick any fish, so did not have to be clubbed to death to prevent further theft?
    Or did you?
    It is all down to the fact that my wife does not understand me !!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Farnham, Surrey
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    21,155

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Fish Farming is big business in Scotland. (It's one of the big earners alongside oil, whisky and tourism)

    Seal predation of the fish is a real problem and I was talking to one of the salmon farmers about it when I was examining him for his boat driving ticket. He was one of the few who have a licence to shoot seals who are predating on the salmon in the nets. If a seal gets into a net, it's very messy with thousands of pounds being lost. However, he admitted he didn't shoot many as there are several thousand seals in his area and as he said, shooting a few dozen doesn't make much difference and just upsets the tourists.

    My guess is that the clicking is a device that's being trialled and that's why the local guy you spoke to wasn't able to comment too much? Presumably it has a limited range and the idea is that it just keeps the seals away.
    Semper aliud

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Oban
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    My guess is that the clicking is a device that's being trialled and that's why the local guy you spoke to wasn't able to comment too much? Presumably it has a limited range and the idea is that it just keeps the seals away.
    They are used quite widely and have been in use for several (10+ ) years. I thought they were being discontinued but I could be wrong.

    As for SEPA: a fish farm manager was quoted "I called my dog Sepa, beacause it does what I tell it."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Boat (now back in) the Clyde
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    As cepdw says, these are not new or experimental but an increasingly common source of loud underwater noise pollution.
    The noise travels quite a distance when heard by humans through the hull of a yacht, so must be extremely damaging to underwater mammals that communicate and/or navigate by sound.

    They are pure pollution and should, like plastic waste in water, be banned. As the industry rep admitted, there are other solutions such as double netting - but noise pollution is cheaper.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    West Coast
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    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    ...My guess is that the clicking is a device that's being trialled and that's why the local guy you spoke to wasn't able to comment too much? Presumably it has a limited range and the idea is that it just keeps the seals away.
    I would suggest you look at the BBC Countryfile program which had a good report on the subject. I didn’t speak to anyone.
    Chris
    Out west.... (or in the office)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    West Coast
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    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Quote Originally Posted by dunedin View Post
    As cepdw says, these are not new or experimental but an increasingly common source of loud underwater noise pollution.
    The noise travels quite a distance when heard by humans through the hull of a yacht, so must be extremely damaging to underwater mammals that communicate and/or navigate by sound.

    They are pure pollution and should, like plastic waste in water, be banned. As the industry rep admitted, there are other solutions such as double netting - but noise pollution is cheaper.
    well said.
    Chris
    Out west.... (or in the office)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Loch Snizort, Isle of Skye
    Posts
    4,881

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Just to offer a counter point (and yes, I work on a fish farm):
    They are not new, and they are pretty much universal. It's possible that they have become more powerful in recent years (I've only been in the industry a bit over a year).
    My understanding is that shooting a seal is a very cumbersome and bureaucratic process. You have to demonstrate that you have tried every other practical method to reduce their impacts- nets correctly tensioned, any dead fish removed daily without fail, and acoustic systems fully functional. Then you have to show evidence of sustained losses directly attributable to seal attacks. Meet all these criteria and you might be allowed to shoot one seal. Some site managers don't bother with shooting as it makes little difference.

    Predator netting outside of the cages sounds like a good idea, but nothing in life is ever that simple. I've heard of these nets entangling seals and machinery. They very quickly before fouled with weed growth, diminishing the water quality inside the pens. And it's very difficult to seal up the bottom edge where the net meets the seabed. You have to account for tidal range and the wear and tear from contact with the ground.

    As to the effects of the ADDs, I have only anecdotal evidence but the only dolphin superpod I have ever seen had two fish farms within five miles.

    Personally I think the way forward is better tensioned nets, and a more active/responsive acoustic deterrent.
    Moody 39- Deb 33- Wayfarer- Wanderer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Farnham, Surrey
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    21,155

    Default Re: Fish Farm Seal Scarers (ADD's)

    Quote Originally Posted by ctva View Post
    I would suggest you look at the BBC Countryfile program which had a good report on the subject. I didn’t speak to anyone.
    I haven’t seen the program but it appears the company I was employed by didn’t use them. I worked for them over several years either training or examining their support boat crews and skippers and visited several sites in various parts of Scotland. (Near Oban and Mull, Shetland and Orkney) I often talked about the problems they faced in their work, including predation by seals and the various diseases they were trying to manage within the farmed salmon. I never heard the device or heard of them using it or discussing it so my apologies for my ignorance and the assumptions I’d made about it being new.

    The anti fish farm lobby is very strong and loud and vociferous in some areas (and also sometimes very misinformed) but if these devices really are bad for the environment, then no doubt the authorities will be lobbied appropriately.
    Semper aliud

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