Written by Dylan Kwak, Wildlife and Fisheries Scientist
Unlike management of deer or bird populations, which are visually observed, collecting fisheries data requires methods designed specifically for aquatic habitats. Fisheries Biologists use a variety of sampling techniques to overcome the difficulty associated with properly assessing fish populations. Common sampling tools include gill nets, traps, angling and electrofishing. Electrofishing is one of the most common and successful techniques for sampling fish in shallow water.
Electrofishing offers many benefits that other sampling techniques do not. Gill nets and traps, for example, reduce the slime coat of fish, making fish more susceptible to parasites and diseases. Due to the passive nature of other sampling techniques, fish commonly trapped in the nets do not survive. Furthermore, angling and nets tends to target specific size and/or species of fish. Electrofishing, on the other hand, can capture all species of fish that are accessible in the water.