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Fish May Have Accents (and Problems Understanding Each Other)

There is evidence that cod have regional accents, and they cause miscommunications.

A UK study of cod shows that some cod moving to more northerly waters off the coast of Great Britain may have difficulty communicating with more northern cod. There are also concerns that other factors, such as noise pollution from boats, may have a detrimental effect on stocks.

Cod communicate with each other by making distinctive sounds with their swim bladders. This “cod talk” is important in attracting mates by producing sounds at different frequencies. They also use these vocalizations to warn of danger and establish territorial boundaries.

With recent research showing that more southerly cod are moving north as water temperatures rise, there is a chance that cod will not be able to communicate with cod in other areas. This inability to communicate may hamper breeding as well as the sharing of waters.

Professor Steve Simpson, the lead researcher, had this to say about cod vocalization:

“This species is highly vocal with traditional breeding grounds established over hundreds or thousands of years, so the potential for regionalism is there.”

There is also some evidence that noise pollution from boats can also effect cod populations and other species behavior.

Cod is one of the favorite fish for consumption in Great Britain therefore scientists point to the importance of understanding impacts moving forward.


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Fish May Have Accents (and Problems Understanding Each Other)