Two field studies with GenusWave's Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology system were conducted with MaREI (Marine Renewable Energy Ireland) at The Coastal and Marine Research Centre - University College Cork, Ireland and funded by Bόrd Iascaigh Mhara. These research studies were carried out under license from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Field Study 1
Four days of fishing trials were carried out on board the Dingle jigging vessel “Genesis”, skippered by Paul Hand.
On the first day, a number of grey seals were immediately visible. Once the system was deployed and signals commenced at depths of 5m and 7m, the visible seals moved out to between 200m and 300m away from the vessel and no fish were lost.
For the most part, the seals remained on the surface, looking at the vessel but they stayed outside an arc of at least 200m.
When the signal transmission was switched off some seals approached the vessel but gave a splash and rapidly removed themselves outside the effective range of the speakers once the transmission recommenced.
A similar pattern prevailed through the remaining days of the trial with no fish being taken by seals.
Field Study 2
The system was tested on board Tom Kennedy’s “Atlantic Fisher” (skippered by Johnny Connor) during a gill-netting trip off the Kerry and Clare coastline.
Gear was deployed in depths from 24 to 106 fathom and 18 sets of gear were hauled with each set being approximately 2.4miles long.
The results were inconclusive but were sufficiently encouraging to plan for more comprehensive trials next year. In one of the sets early in the trip approximately 40% of the pollack (4.5 boxes) were destroyed by seals but this gear had a particularly long soak time and was outside the influence of the speakers for most of the time.
After this quantities of depredated fish fell dramatically and 9 of the remaining 14 hauls recorded no depredation, despite the loss of one of the speakers. The balance of 5 hauls had anything from a single fish to a box of depredated catch.