Recreational boating interferes with the behaviour of Atlantic cod

Remco Laurens Martijn Lameijer

There is a growing concern about the impact of anthropogenic noise pollution on the
marine environment. The problem is fed by a lack of knowledge, in which the effect
of small recreational boats is especially underestimated. However, small recreational
boats are the most abundant in vulnerable and important coastal habitats. This
study addresses the issue by looking at the impact of noise on a coastal population
of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua).
The results of this study indicate that vocalizations and movement patterns of
cod are affected by small boat noise.. An increase in noise leads to a reduction of
home range size and an increase in depth. Furthermore, the vocalization length and
amount of pulses decrease during periods with high amounts of noise, while vocal
fatigue increases.
This impact of boat noise on cod may negatively impact courtship success due to
the importance of sound during courtship interactions. Additionally, the change in
depth might negatively affect cod metabolism due to changes in temperature. This
may have implications for the health of cod populations residing in areas with high
amounts of ambient noise.
Negative impacts of noise have been previously described for other species. The
negative impact on cod suggests that marine noise pollution may have economic
consequences. Therefore, regulations regarding noise pollution should be urgently