Citation: Morton, A. B. and Symonds, H. K. 2002. Displacement of Orcinus orca (L.) by high amplitude sound in British Columbia, Canada ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2002) 59 (1): 71-80 doi:10.1006/jmsc.2001.1136
Abstract: Whale displacement by acoustic “pollution” has been difficult to document, even in cases where it is strongly suspected, because noise effects can rarely be separated from other stimuli. Two independent studies on the natural history of killer whales (Orcinus orca) monitored frequency of whale occurrence from January 1985 through December 2000 in two adjacent areas: Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. Four high-amplitude, acoustic harassment devices (AHDs) were installed throughout 1993 on already existing salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, in attempts to deter predation on fish pens by harbour seals (Phoca vitulina Linnaeus). While whale occurrence was relatively stable in both areas until 1993, it then increased slightly in the Johnstone Strait area and declined significantly in the Broughton Archipelago while AHDs were in use. Both mammal-eating and fish-eating killer whales were similarly impacted. Acoustic harassment ended in the Broughton Archipelago in May 1999 and whale occurrence re-established to baseline levels. This study concludes that whale displacement resulted from the deliberate introduction of noise into their environment.