leading to the death of their babies. Marine experts at the University of Exeter have discovered that “[t]he sound of motorboat engines disturbed coral reef fish so acutely it changed the behaviour of parents, and stopped male fish properly guarding their young, feeding and interacting with their offspring.” And the effects weren’t insignificant, as the researchers “found that the death-rates of baby fish exposed to boat engine noise increased significantly, with six of the 19 boat-noise nests suffering complete mortality.”
Armed with their results, the researchers assert that the “noise from boats is a ‘global pollutant,'” and believe that it “should be factored in when trying to protect fish stocks and manage fisheries.” Dr. Steve Simpson, an expert on the impact of noise on marine life at the university, adds:
This study raises important implications for managing the noise of the 100,000s of motorboats used around the world in coral reef environments. We are now considering acoustic quiet zones and corridors, and exploring how engine and propeller development can reduce the impact of this globally prevalent pollutant.
The researchers believe that their “research into the effect of man-made noise on coral fish could have wider implications for the survival of other marine species, and even birds and mammals.”