Fisheries Acoustics


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Services | Hydroacoustics | FISHERIES ACOUSTICS

fisheries acoustics 3.
Normandeau conducts mobile acoustic survey of
blueback herring near hydroelectric dam.

Fisheries acoustics, the use of underwater sound to study fish, is an effective and accepted method for estimating fish abundance and studying many aspects of their behavior and ecology. Our fisheries scientists are experienced in applying the latest fisheries acoustic technologies in a variety of marine, coastal, riverine, and lake environments. Normandeau's expertise in fisheries acoustics, coupled with our renowned history for providing excellent fisheries sampling services, can provide each client with a comprehensive, customized solution for meeting their study objectives.

Active sonar (sound and navigation ranging) technologies transmit sound and measure the resulting sound reflections (echoes) from fish and other organisms for quantifying or describing the following:

  • abundance and biomass
  • movement (swimming speed and direction)
  • spatial distribution (depth and geographical)
  • temporal distribution (seasonality or timing of migrations)
  • behavior (e.g., attraction or repulsion to stimuli)
  • size distribution or population structure

With an expansive inventory of vessels and equipment, Normandeau can provide other complementary services such as net sampling for verifying species and size composition; hydrological sensing (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, etc.); flow measurements; laboratory services for plankton taxonomy, aging fish, or other biological sample processing; sediment cores and grabs; tagging and telemetry; and underwater video.

Advantages of Active Hydroacoustics for Fisheries Research
fisheries acoustics.

Fisheries acoustic sampling provides clients with fine-resolution, high-quality information for science-based decision making for mitigating potential impacts to fish populations or for managing sustainable fisheries. Normandeau's hydroacoustic services for studying fish populations, particularly when integrated with our field services, offer many advantages over other traditional sampling gears such as:

  • fine-scale spatial and temporal resolution of fish distributions
  • greater sampling coverage or volume
  • sampling of nearly the full water column
  • sampling complex habitats inaccessible to other gear like trawls or electrofishing
  • less invasive sampling and low sampling mortality
  • potentially fewer behavior-related sampling biases
Applications for Fisheries Acoustics

Fixed-location monitoring using imaging sonars, such as dual-frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) or adaptive resolution imaging sonar (ARIS), and split-beam echo sounders can be used to quantify fish passage at hydroelectric dams and behavior near water withdrawal intake structures. In addition to absolute or relative estimates of fish passage, information about the timing, frequency, and route of fish migrations can also be collected. Imaging sonars provide high-resolution acoustic imagery for visually identifying and counting fish.

Mobile surveys by vessels equipped with down-looking split-beam echo sounders are used to assess fish population size and distribution, often near a site of potential impact or activity such as construction, site evaluation, water intakes or discharges, thermal plumes, or behavioral guidance systems. Abundance or biomass estimates provided by mobile acoustic surveys can also be used by government agencies and fishery managers for resource assessment and management strategies for recreationally or commercially important fishes.

Fisheries acoustic research by Normandeau scientists published in the peer-reviewed literature

A selection of our inventory available for hydroacoustic services includes:

Dunning, D.J., Q.E. Ross, P. Geoghegan, J.J. Reichle, J.K. Menezes, and J.K. Watson. 1992. Alewives avoid high frequency sound. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 12:407-416.

Dunning, D.J. and C.W.D. Gurshin. 2012. Downriver passage of juvenile blueback herring near an ultrasonic field in the Mohawk River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 32: 365-380.

Gurshin, C.W.D. 2012. Target strength measurements of juvenile blueback herring from the Mohawk River, New York. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32: 381-386.

Gurshin, C.W.D., H.W. Howell, and J.M. Jech. 2013. Synoptic acoustic and trawl surveys of spring-spawning Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine cod spawning protection. Fisheries Research 141: 44-61.

Gurshin, C.W.D., J.M. Jech, W.H. Howell, T.C. Weber, and L.A. Mayer. 2009. Measurements of acoustic backscatter and density of captive Atlantic cod with synchronized 300-kHz multibeam and 120-kHz split-beam echosounders. ICES Journal of Marine Science 66: 1303-1309.

Gurshin, C.W.D. and S.T. Szedlmayer. 2004. Short-term survival and movements of Atlantic sharpnose sharks captured by hook-and-line in the north-east Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Fish Biology. 65: 973-986.

Stockwell, J. D. T. R. Hrabik, O.P. Jensen, D.L. Yule, and M. Balge. 2010. Empirical evaluation of predator-driven diel vertical migration in Lake Superior. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 67:473-485.

Yule D.L., J.D. Stockwell, D.R. Schreiner, L.M. Evrard, M. Balge, and T.R. Hrabik. 2009. Can pelagic forage fish and spawning cisco (Coregonus artedi) biomass in the western arm of Lake Superior be assessed with a single summer survey? Fisheries Research 96:39-50.