Fishes can detect underwater sounds and use them to obtain key information about the environment around them. A particular problem in sound detection is the masking of those sounds that interest the fishes by high and variable levels of background noise. Although some of the background noise is generated by natural sources, including the precipitation of rain and snow, and wind and waves, many underwater sounds now come from anthropogenic sources. Some of these human-made sounds can kill or injure fishes, impair their hearing, and alter their behaviour. Interference with the detection of sounds can have especially adverse effects upon the lives of fishes. There is a need for more work and research on the impact of human-made underwater noise upon the fitness of fishes, and the strength of fish populations.
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