Effects of seismic air guns on marine fish.

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2001

Continental Shelf Research

Observations of marine fish and invertebrates on an inshore reef were made using TV and acoustic tags one week before, during, and four days after a seismic triple G. airgun (three synchronised airguns, each gun 2.5 l and 2000 psi) was deployed and repeatedly fired. The guns were fired once/min for eight periods on four days at different positions. The structure and intensity of the sound of each triple G. gun explosion was recorded and calibrated. Peak sound pressure levels of 210 dB (rel to 1 μPa) at 16 m range and 195 dB (rel to 1 μPa) at 109 m range were measured at positions where the fish were being observed. The final position of the triple G. gun, at 5.3 m range, had a peak pressure level of 218 dB (rel to 1 μPa). Neither the fish, nor the invertebrates, showed any signs of moving away from the reef. Firing the guns did not interrupt a diurnal rhythm of fish gathering at dusk and passing the TV camera position while the guns were firing. The long-term day-to-night movements of two tagged pollack were slightly changed by the arrival and banging of the guns particularly when positioned within 10 m of their normal living positions. Those reef fish, watched by the TV camera, always showed involuntary reactions in the form of a Mauthner cell reflex, C-start, at each explosion of the guns at all ranges tested (maximum range was 109 m, 195 dB rel to 1 μPa). When the explosion source was not visible to the fish, the C-start reaction was cut short and the fish continued with what they were doing before the stimulus. When the G. gun rack was sunk to the seabed (depth 14 m) visible to the fish and the TV camera, those fish that were observed approaching the G. gun rack when the guns were fired were seen to turn and flee from the very visible explosion. When the gun rack was suspended midwater (5 m depth) and just outside visible range at 16 metres, the fish receiving a 6 ms peak to peak, 206 dB (rel to 1 μPa) pressure swing exhibited a C-start and then continued to swim towards the gun position, their intended swimming track apparently unaltered. The sound of the G. guns had little effect on the day-to-day behaviour of the resident fish and invertebrates.

Link To Publication

Similar Research

Influences of man-made noise and other human actions on cetacean behaviour

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Behavioral reactions of cetaceans to man-made noises are highly variable, ranging from attraction (e.g. bow riding by dolphins) or no response through short-term changes in behaviour...
Read More

A Summary of Existing and Future Potential Treatments for Reducing Underwater Sounds from Oil and Gas Industry Activities

Pay-walled Conference 2007


This paper summarizes the efforts undertaken by the author to identify existing and future potential methods to reduce underwater sound levels created by nearly all oil...
Read More

Influence of seismic surveys on western gray whales off Sakhalin Island, Russia in 2001

Open Access Report 2002

Publications, Agencies and Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) aggregate off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia during summer-autumn to feed on benthic and near-benthic prey. During summer 2001,...
Read More

Broadband spectra of seismic survey air-gun emissions, with reference to dolphin auditory thresholds

Pay-walled Journal Article 1998

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Acoustic emissions from a 2120 cubic in. air-gun array were recorded through a towed hydrophone assembly during an oil industry 2-D seismic survey off the West...
Read More

Effects of seismic energy releases on the survival and development of zoeal larvae of dungeness crab (Cancer magister)

Pay-walled Journal Article 1994

Marine Environmental Research

In blind, controlled field experiments, early Stage II zoeae of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister DANA) were exposed to sounds from single discharges of a 13·8-litre array...
Read More

Low-frequency whale and seismic airgun sounds recorded in the mid-Atlantic Ocean

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Beginning in February 1999, an array of six autonomous hydrophones was moored near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (35°N–15°N, 50°W–33°W). Two years of data were reviewed for whale...
Read More

Quantitative measures of air-gun pulses recorded on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using acoustic tags during controlled exposure experiments

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

The widespread use of powerful, low-frequency air-gun pulses for seismic seabed exploration has raised concern about their potential negative effects on marine wildlife. Here, we quantify...
Read More

Criteria and Thresholds of U.S. Navy Acoustic and Explosive Effects Analysis.

Open Access Report 2012

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Centre Pacific

Sounds produced from naval activities can be divided into seven categories: (1) Sonars and other active acoustic sources; (2) Explosive detonations; (3) Ship noise; (4) Aircrafts...
Read More

A brief overview of seismic air-gun arrays.

Open Access Journal Article 2000

The Leading Edge

This article summarizes salient points one must know about seismic air-gun arrays to discuss seriously how they might affect marine life. It is by no means...
Read More

Short-term disturbance by a commercial two-dimensional seismic survey does not lead to long-term displacement of harbour porpoises

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2013

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Assessments of the impact of offshore energy developments are constrained because it is not known whether fine-scale behavioural responses to noise lead to broader-scale displacement of...
Read More