Passive acoustic detection of schools of herring

Thomas R. Hahn, Gary Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Herring (Clupea pallasii and C. harengus) have been observed to release gas from their bladders during vertical migration likely to adjust buoyancy and also when under strong predation pressure. Based on recently measured and modeled sound for individual fish, spectral levels are estimated for entire herring schools in the ocean for both scenarios, and the feasibility of passive detection is explored. For a typical school of migrating herring near-surface spectral levels of about 50 dB rel., 1 μPaHz at 3-7 kHz are predicted. If wind conditions are calm where migrating herring are found, such as for Pacific herring in Prince William Sound, Alaska, passive detection is very likely. For an exemplary 10 metric ton compact school, peak spectral source levels of about 80-90 dB rel. 1 μPaHz ref. 1 m are predicted, yielding a range of detection against calm wind background of about 1000 m. Field measurements of potential gas-release events agree with the predictions for the compact school scenario with regard to levels and spectral shape and indicate that passive acoustic monitoring is feasible and could be a prime tool to study predator-prey interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2896-2908
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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