Date Posted: March 8, 2019
Five things to look for when investing in safe seal scarers
When researching predator deterrents, or ‘seal scarers’, it can be difficult to know what to look for if it’s not something you’re familiar with. We asked some of our customers what advice they would give to someone researching their options. They had a lot of ideas but the five points below were the most common themes that come up again and again.
1 – Proven long-term effectiveness
Academic research has shown certain acoustic deterrents cause a problem known as ‘habituation’. This is when a seal or other predator becomes deaf or accustomed to a particular sound over a period of time, approximately 6 months. For this reason it’s important to ask what any potential supplier is doing to mitigate the risk of habituation. Also ask for examples of where their acoustic deterrents have been used continuously over a period of years, not just months.
2 – Low-frequency acoustic options
Some water areas have controls in place to protect local cetacean populations. Mid-frequency deterrents are not appropriate for farms in these areas, so it’s important to also have access to low-frequency acoustic deterrent options. Look for systems that are limited to sounds below 5kHz, ideally between 1kHz-2kHz. It’s also important to confirm they don’t produce any high frequency harmonics above this frequency.
3 – Loud volume
Acoustic deterrents that operate at lower volume levels can cause a ‘dinner-bell’ effect that draws seals in rather than deterring them. Any system of 195dB or above should have sufficient power to avoid this problem.
4 – Remote monitoring
Even the most reliable systems in the world can become useless if someone forgets to turn them on, or if extreme weather damages a generator. Having deterrent systems that can be monitored remotely online provides peace of mind that your sites are protected at all times, and allows for quick resolution of any issues.
5 – Variety of tools
When it comes to protecting your fish from predators the price of failure is exceptionally high. With millions of pounds/dollars worth of fish at risk and higher than ever consumer expectations of animal welfare it’s important to have a variety of options. When deployed with full coverage, acoustic deterrents have proved sufficient for most people, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan. Look at options like non-acoustic electric deterrents that you can have in reserve ready for quick deployment to any problem sites.