Scottish scientist have discovered evidence that man-made noise causes stress in cod – affecting their ability to breed.
The fish super favourite appears to like the quiet life, finding noise from marine turbines and shipping a bit off putting.
The research from Stirling University involved laboratory fish being subjected to sounds similar to those from wind farms and marine traffic.
The scientist found evidence of the cod being stressed, which in turn leads to reduced breeding success rates over time.
The research has raised questions about what impact increased noise levels in the sea could do to fish stocks.
There is also concern wild fish, unlike their captive counterparts, would simply leave fishing grounds to get away from any noisy neighbours.
Andrew Davie, co-author of the study, said: “The sound levels that we exposed the fish to would be at a volume and frequency which is comparable to something you would experience around an offshore wind turbine, certainly during construction.
“The noise from fishing boats would depend on factors including how close they were, but if there were lots of them that could potentially create sound levels like this too.”
Concerns about disturbance from trawlers was dismissed by the Scottish Fishing Federation as a “red herring”.
Spokesman Bertie Armstrong said: “Noise from boats has not manifested itself as a problem in the past and the fishing fleet has never been smaller.”
He did, however, want further studies into the impact of offshore turbines.
“We would like to know what the effects of these might be,” he said.
Scottish Renewables, the green energy industry body, said UK-wide underwater noise registry is already being established which would help understand the impact of marine energy.
Their spokeswoman said that combating climate change would protect the sea from “the greatest threat” to the health of the sea.
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