Journal Article

Modelling the acoustic effect of swimbladder compression in herring

Natalia Gorska and Egil Ona

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 60, issue 3, pages 548-554
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Modelling the acoustic effect of swimbladder compression in herring

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Obtaining accurate data on fish target strength (TS) is important when determining the quality of the results from acoustic surveys. However, this requires an improved understanding of both behavioural and environmental influences on the acoustic backscattering by fish. It is well known that the increased pressure with depth compresses the swimbladder of herring, and it has been confirmed by in situ measurements that the TS of adult herring (30–34 cm) is 3–5 dB weaker at 300 m than that of fish close to the surface. Understanding exactly how swimbladder compression may influence herring TS is, therefore, of great interest, and is the main motivation behind this study. Taking account of swimbladder volume changes with depth, we obtained analytical solutions using the Modal-Based, Deformed-Cylinder Model (MB-DCM). The mean-backscattering cross-section is then computed with selected orientation patterns, length distributions, and contrast parameters. The depth-dependence of TS at different acoustic frequencies has been studied. We conducted a sensitivity analysis to show how TS is dependent on the contraction rates of the bladder dimensions and on the fish-orientation distribution. Our theoretical results are compared with TS measured at 38 kHz.

Keywords: herring target strength; modelling; swimbladder depth compression

Journal Article.  3213 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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