Broadband classification and statistics of echoes from aggregations of fish measured by long-range, mid-frequency sonar
Jones, Benjamin A.
Stanton, Timothy K.
Colosi, John A.
Gauss, Roger C.
Fialkowski, Joseph M.
Jech, J. Michael
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For horizontal-looking sonar systems operating at mid-frequencies (1–10 kHz), scattering by fish with resonant gas-filled swimbladders can dominate seafloor and surface reverberation at long-ranges (i.e., distances much greater than the water depth). This source of scattering, which can be difficult to distinguish from other sources of scattering in the water column or at the boundaries, can add spatio-temporal variability to an already complex acoustic record. Sparsely distributed, spatially compact fish aggregations were measured in the Gulf of Maine using a long-range broadband sonar with continuous spectral coverage from 1.5 to 5 kHz. Observed echoes, that are at least 15 decibels above background levels in the horizontal-looking sonar data, are classified spectrally by the resonance features as due to swimbladder-bearing fish. Contemporaneous multi-frequency echosounder measurements (18, 38, and 120 kHz) and net samples are used in conjunction with physics-based acoustic models to validate this approach. Furthermore, the fish aggregations are statistically characterized in the long-range data by highly non-Rayleigh distributions of the echo magnitudes. These distributions are accurately predicted by a computationally efficient, physics-based model. The model accounts for beam-pattern and waveguide effects as well as the scattering response of aggregations of fish.
The article of record as published may be found at https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4983446
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