Fish Radio

Fish noises can help with research and management

November 27, 2015                          Sound wave

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — Fish are making an awful racket! You’ll hear more after this —

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Fish sounds have made headlines lately, led by a New York Times story about retirees in Cape Coral, Florida going nuts over loud humming noises reverberating in their waterfront homes all winter. The City was getting ready to shell out big bucks to solve the noise problem.  Turns out it was mating calls of black drum –

Play sfx: drumming

A Univ. of South Florida graduate student recorded the mating calls, and showed how they travel at a low enough frequency to carry through sea walls, into the ground and into the homes.

Play sfx  grunt, hum

That’s the grunt, then the hum of another disturber of the peace – a midshipman fish guarding its nest.

The tiny cusk eel can sound like a jackhammer. And for years the mating calls of cod fish have wreaked havoc for the Norwegian navy- because the love sounds are similar to enemy submarines. But overall, not much attention has been paid to fish sounds.

Of the 30-thousand species out there, researchers believe fewer than one thousand have been recorded. NOAA Fisheries has  ramped up its interest in listening to sea life. Since many popular fish make identifiable sounds, it offers potential for fisheries research and management.

Scientists say the underwater sound scape can tell a lot about what’s out there – and what they are doing.


Our fish sounds came from Cornell and Eastern Carolina Universities.

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