The potential effects of pile driving on fish populations and commercial fisheries have received significant attention given the prevalence of pile driving occurring in coastal habitats throughout the world. Behavioral impacts of sound generated from these activities on fish typically have a greater area of influence than physical injury, and may therefore adversely affect a greater portion of the local population. This study used acoustic telemetry to assess the movement, residency, and survival of 15 sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) and 10 grey snapper (Lutjanus griseus) in Port Canaveral, Florida, USA, in response to 35 days of pile driving at a wharf complex. No obvious signs of mortality or injury to tagged fish were evident from the data. Received sound pressure levels from pile strikes on the interior of the wharf, where reef fish primarily occur, were on average 152–157 dB re 1 μPa (peak). No significant decrease in sheepshead daytime residency was observed during pile driving within the central portion of the wharf and area of highest sound exposure, and no major indicators of displacement from the exposure wharf with the onset of pile driving were observed. There was evidence of potential displacement from the exposure wharf that coincided with the start of pile driving observed for 2 out of 4 grey snapper, along with a decrease in daytime residency for a subset of this species with high site fidelity prior to the event. Results indicate that snapper may be more likely to depart an area of pile driving disturbance more readily than sheepshead, but were less at risk for behavioral impact given the lower site fidelity of this species.
Effects of Pile Driving on the Residency and Movement of Tagged Reef Fish
Title: Effects of Pile Driving on the Residency and Movement of Tagged Reef Fish
November 23, 2016
Journal: Plos One
Publisher: Plos One
Iafrate, J.; Watwood, S.; Reyier, E.; Scheidt, D. (2016). Effects of Pile Driving on the Residency and Movement of Tagged Reef Fish. Plos One, 11(11), 1-17.