Author: Guy Rogers
Scientists are exploring deep sea refuges, southwest of Gqeberha in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, and their importance to the said the site and its importance to the kingklip, a species of cusk eel that occurs along the South African Coast.
Marine biologist Prof Kerry Sink said that the kinglips unusual “drumming” method of communication underlined the need for progressive new thinking about underwater noise pollution from activities like offshore gas and petroleum seismic surveys.
“In South African waters, this is the kingdom of the kingklip and from here in these deep dark bottom waters these big fish send their calls booming out across the underwater landscape.
“I believe one of the reasons the site has attracted them is because the natural amphitheatre — formed by the shape of the needle on the lea side and several framing ‘kingklip koppies’ — amplifies their calls.”
She said kingklip, which lived about 40 years and grew about 1.5m long, produced their calls using muscles attached to their swim bladders.
“So my view is this unique kingklip ridge should be identified as a noise-sensitive site and delineated on a map as a spot where animals use sound as part of their life cycles, and therefore no activities like seismic surveys, especially during their reproductive cycle, should be allowed.”
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