Acoustic characterization of bycatch mitigation pingers on shark control nets in Queensland, Australia

Erbe, C., McPherson, C.
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Endangered Species Research
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Acoustic pingers, Fumunda F3 (2.7 kHz) for humpback whales and F10 (10 kHz) for dolphins, were used on sharks nets within the Queensland Shark Control Program.  Sound from the acoustic pingers was present for around 1.5 km beyond the nets. Humpback whales and dugons were able to hear the F3 pinger 90 m from the net and its two harmonic overtones (5.4 and 8.1 kHz) 10 and 210 m from the net respectively. The F10 pinger was audible to both species up to 130 m from the net. Dolphins could hear the F3 pinger 45 m from the net and it's two overtones 10 and 110 m from the net.  The F10 pinger could be detected by dolphins up to 40 m from the net. Shark nets are currently fitted with 3 to 4 pingers per 200 m length of net and therefore appear to be adequate for detection by marine mammals swimming straight at the net and at a top speed.