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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 12:167-177 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00355

The impact of aquaculture soundscapes on whiteleg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Matthew Slater1,*, Enno Fricke1, Monika Weiss1, Anja Rebelein1, Mirko Bögner1, Mark Preece2, Craig Radford3

1Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, Bremerhaven 27570, Germany
2NZ King Salmon Ltd, 93 Beatty Street, Tahunanui Nelson 7011, New Zealand
3Auckland University, Leigh Marine Laboratory, Institute of Marine Science, Auckland University, PO Box 349, Warkworth 0941, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Research into the effects of soundscapes on aquaculture species in key production systems is sparse, despite potential impacts of sound on animal welfare and commercial yields. In the following study, 2 high-value global aquaculture species, whiteleg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, were exposed to aquaculture production system soundscapes. For shrimp, sound recordings of a commercial recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) were played back at a sound pressure level (SPL) of 128 dB re 1 µPa, and for salmon, recordings from a commercial sea pen production system were played back at an SPL of 127 dB re 1 µPa for an 8 wk period. Effects of exposure on growth, survival, and indications of metabolic stress were measured as parameters of interest for aquaculture production. Mean growth performance and survival rates did not differ significantly between sound and control treatments for either species. Blood and haemolymph parameters from both species indicated no measurable change in metabolic status or stress levels. Slight, but non-significant, increases in total haemocyte count and, in particular, hyaline cell count were recorded in shrimp exposed to sound. Slight, but non-significant reductions in overall weight gain were recorded in sound-exposed salmon. Overall, the results indicate that sound exposure in current production systems does not negatively affect the early grow-out stage of these key species, either due to rapid habituation or higher hearing thresholds of hatchery-produced individuals, and that no measurable stress response occurs in sound-exposed animals. In future studies, response of the studied species to acute sound exposure and the response of earlier, and potentially more sensitive, life-stages will need to be determined to ensure optimal welfare and production performance.


KEY WORDS: Noise · Stressor · RAS · Sea pen · Pond


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Cite this article as: Slater M, Fricke E, Weiss M, Rebelein A, Bögner M, Preece M, Radford C (2020) The impact of aquaculture soundscapes on whiteleg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:167-177. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00355

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