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Finnish researchers test acoustic seal deterrent to protect fisheries July 08,2018   |  Source: Yle, Luke

This summer Finland's Natural Resources Institute (Luke) is experimenting with a newly developed acoustic deterrent in the Baltic sea waters off of the southern city of Loviisa. The device gives off a loud high-pitched chirping sound that is intended to keep seals away from fish nets in the area.

The Baltic grey seal population has increased dramatically for decades, with the number of ringed seals growing fast behind it. Damage by seals to fishing gear and catches in Finland has increased in kind, and fisheries in particular have demanded that Finland take steps to regulate the expanding seal populations.

Luke is one of several environmental authorities in Finland and Sweden that is exploring alternative technical solutions to tackle the seal problem.

A new 'self-proof pound net' was developed in the early 2000s, with a stronger 'fish bag' where the fish in the trap are collected, and a grid at the entrance. Although the new net showed promise, the seals quickly learned to adapt to several of the obstacles presented by the new technology.

This has led Luke researchers to experiment again with an acoustic deterrent. A new device utilizing 4G technology was developed, powered by solar panels and a wind turbine to ease its use on the open sea.

The Loviisa trial

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