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From two dimensions to three: the use of multibeam sonar for a new approach in fisheries acoustics

Gerlotto, François, Soria, Marc, Fréon, Pierre
Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 1999 v.56 no.1 pp. 6-12
acoustics, biomass, fish behavior, fisheries, methodology, schools, schools of fish
We present a methodology applying multibeam sonar for three-dimensional (3D) observation of fish schools that enhances the conventional use of vertical scientific echo sounders. The sonar we employ has 60 beams of 1.5° each. Its working frequency is 455 kHz. It is applied on a vertical plan normal to the vessel route, observing from the surface line to the bottom with a range set to 100 m. The sampled volume is 14 times larger than the volume observed with vertical echo sounding. The contribution of this new methodology to fisheries acoustics is detailed for school classification, internal school structure, spatial distribution of schools, fish behaviour, and biomass estimates. For each of these points, we present some preliminary results with the aim of defining the real progress in fisheries acoustics research as a result of 3D acoustics. Finally, we present a list of technical and methodological improvements that we are developing in order to make multibeam sonar fully adapted to fisheries acoustics.