Underwater sound devices called “pingers” could be an effective, long-term way to prevent porpoises getting caught in fishing nets with no negative behavioural effects, newly published research suggests.
The study of harbour porpoises off Cornwall found they were 37% less likely to be found close to an active pinger.
Concerns have been raised about porpoises becoming used to pingers and learning to ignore them, but the eight-month study – by the University of Exeter and Cornwall Wildlife Trust – found no decrease in effectiveness.
There have also been worries that continual pinger use could affect porpoise behaviour by displacing them from feeding grounds, but when pingers were switched off the animals returned “with no delay”. MORE