Sound provides animals with a means of rapid, directional, and long-distance communication. It also provides animals with a “gestalt” view of their environment by giving an acoustic image of the world that often extends far beyond what is available from other senses. Thus, sound is highly relevant for fishes, and any interference with the ability to detect sound has potential consequences for the fitness and survival of individuals, populations, and species. There is a growing body of evidence that the addition of man-made sound in the aquatic environment has the potential to affect the ability of fishes to detect and use the biologically relevant sounds that are important for their survival. Moreover, there is also evidence that especially intense sounds not only affect sound detection and behavior but also have the potential to have physiological and physical effects on fish that could result in greatly reduced fitness and, in some cases, directly to death. This chapter examines the potential effects of man-made sound on fishes. It considers the sources of such sounds, the current data on potential effects and impacts, and implications for regulation of such sounds so that the potential impact is mitigated.
This chapter is from the book Effects of Anthropogenic Noise on Animals.