Behavioural Responses of Common Dolphins Delphinus delphis to a Bio-Inspired Acoustic Device for Limiting Fishery By-Catch

Type Article
Date 2022-10
Language English
Author(s) Lehnhoff Loic1, 2, Glotin Hervé2, Bernard Serge3, Dabin Willy4, Le Gall Yves5, Menut Eric5, Meheust Eleonore4, Peltier Hélène4, Pochat Alain6, Pochat Krystel6, Rimaud Thomas7, Sourget Quiterie8, Spitz Jérôme4, Van Canneyt Olivier4, Mérigot Sébastien1
Affiliation(s) 1 : UMR Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation (MARBEC), CNRS, Université Montpellier, IFREMER, IRD, Avenue Jean Monnet, 34203 Sète, France
2 : UMR Laboratory of Computer Science and Systems (LIS), Campus de La Garde, Université Toulon, Université Aix Marseille, CNRS, DYNI, 83041 Toulon, France
3 : UMR Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotics, and Microelectronics (LIRMM), Université Montpellier, CNRS, 34095 Montpellier, France
4 : Observatoire Pelagis (UAR 3462), La Rochelle Université, CNRS, 17000 La Rochelle, France
5 : French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), Centre Bretagne, 29280 Plouzané, France
6 : SAS Ocean technology (OCTECH), 29120 Pont l’Abbé, France
7 : Les Pêcheurs de Bretagne, 56100 Lorient, France
8 : Association du Grand Littoral Atlantique, 56100 Lorient, France
Source Sustainability (2071-1050) (MDPI), 2022-10 , Vol. 14 , N. 20 , P. 13186 (25p.)
DOI 10.3390/su142013186
Note This is an early access version, the complete PDF, HTML, and XML versions will be available soon.
Keyword(s) bio-acoustics, etho-acoustic, cetaceans, echolocation, clicks, whistles, buzz, burst-pulse, sound processing, Bay of Biscay

By-catch is the most direct threat to marine mammals globally. Acoustic repellent devices (pingers) have been developed to reduce dolphin by-catch. However, mixed results regarding their efficiency have been reported. Here, we present a new bio-inspired acoustic beacon, emitting returning echoes from the echolocation clicks of a common dolphin ‘Delphinus delphis’ from a fishing net, to inform dolphins of its presence. Using surface visual observations and the automatic detection of echolocation clicks, buzzes, burst-pulses and whistles, we assessed wild dolphins’ behavioural responses during sequential experiments (i.e., before, during and after the beacon’s emission), with or without setting a net. When the device was activated, the mean number of echolocation clicks and whistling time of dolphins significantly increased by a factor of 2.46 and 3.38, respectively (p < 0.01). Visual surface observations showed attentive behaviours of dolphins, which kept a distance of several metres away from the emission source before calmly leaving. No differences were observed among sequences for buzzes/burst-pulses. Our results highlight that this prototype led common dolphins to echolocate more and communicate differently, and it would favour net detection. Complementary tests of the device during the fishing activities of professional fishermen should further contribute to assessment of its efficiency.

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Lehnhoff Loic, Glotin Hervé, Bernard Serge, Dabin Willy, Le Gall Yves, Menut Eric, Meheust Eleonore, Peltier Hélène, Pochat Alain, Pochat Krystel, Rimaud Thomas, Sourget Quiterie, Spitz Jérôme, Van Canneyt Olivier, Mérigot Sébastien (2022). Behavioural Responses of Common Dolphins Delphinus delphis to a Bio-Inspired Acoustic Device for Limiting Fishery By-Catch. Sustainability, 14(20), 13186 (25p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :