Application of Sound and Other Stimuli to Control Fish Behavior

Publication Date



behavior, fish behavior, sound

Journal or Book Title

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society


This paper reviews the application of several sensory signals for their possible use in the control and modification of fish behavior but emphasizes the use of sound. Basic principles of underwater acoustics are introduced, followed by an overview of the structures and function of the fish ear and lateral line. Sounds in the sonic, infrasonic, and ultrasonic ranges are potentially useful for controlling fish behavior. However, most experiments testing the usefulness of such sounds have given ambiguous results except when ultrasound has been used to control some clupeid species. Very little is known about the potential usefulness of chemical and electric signals (other than electric shocks) for behavioral control. A substantial literature on the use of light to attract or repel fish offers encouraging possibilities for this control medium in some circumstances. We conclude that too little is actually known about the suitability of various signals for control of fish behavior. Many variables, such as time of day and age of the fish, affect the effectiveness even of signals that seem to 'work.' These variables can influence the success or failure of a technique and need to be considered in the evaluation of any stimulus considered for the control fish behavior. Moreover, it is increasingly apparent that flow field has a powerful effect on the local success of one stimulus or another. We suggest that sound and light be further explored for control of fish behavior, particularly in combination. This work cannot be done with only field studies or only laboratory studies or by only applied biologists or only basic scientists; all methods and expertise are needed. Finally, no behavioral control method will work unless the behavior of the subject species is thoroughly understood in each place of application.







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