Utilizing Electrofishing to Develop and Manage Your Fishery
Developing and maintaining a healthy fishery requires data collection from several methods that are specifically designed 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.
Gill Nets & Traps Make Fish More Susceptible To Disease
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 tend to target specific sizes and/or species of fish. Electrofishing, on the other hand, can capture all species of fish that are accessible in the water.
Electrofishing Safely Stuns Fish For Retrieval
Electrofishing is a management tool that safely stuns fish using a specially designed boat. Fish are temporarily stunned with either a pulsed direct or alternating current produced by a generator. The electricity is passed through anodes that suspend from a boom at the bow (front) of the boat. Fish within a close radius of the boat are affected. In a freshwater environment, electrofishing works well due to fish having a higher salt concentration than the surrounding water. The salt concentration conducts the current at a higher rate than the surrounding environment, leading to a successful sample. Once stunned, the fish can be retrieved by a Fisheries Biologist on the boat’s bow and placed in a live well for observation and recovery.
We Collect Data On Fish Species Composition, Weight, Length & More
To properly assess a fishery, professionals require data on species composition, weight, and length, among other characteristics. For more intensive management, a Fisheries Biologist may also identify genetics, age fish, determine sex, and tag fish with a unique identifier. The data collected provides a snapshot of the fishery at the time of the survey. Biologists analyze the data to develop a report addressing the species present in the lake, the size structure of the fish population, and the balance of prey-to-predator ratios. Based on the information compiled in the fisheries report, they can make recommendations and customize a fisheries management plan that considers the unique needs of the waterbody and the goals of the property owner.
Building a Fisheries Management Plan
Fisheries Biologists rely heavily on data to build a fisheries management plan. Although there is more than one technique to observe fish populations, electrofishing allows them to safely obtain the required information and make science-supported recommendations. When planning for the future of your fishery, it’s recommended to work with a professional and start with an electrofishing survey.
The Importance of Electrofishing
Whether your goal is to cultivate an epic trophy fishery or a relaxing fishing spot, electrofishing is an important strategy to help ensure the health and balance of your fishery. With a wealth of personalized data in hand, you can begin creating the fishery of your dreams.
DISCLAIMER: When an electrofishing survey is employed, for the safety of the fish and the crew it is imperative that a skilled professional operator is in command of the vessel and the electrical systems. Electrofishing can be dangerous for people and fish alike when carried out by untrained personnel. Since every lake and pond is unique, the precise settings and appropriate outputs will vary and must be accounted for by the operator. While no sampling method is without stress for fish, when properly conducted by trained biologists, electrofishing is one of the most effective and efficient ways to collect fish and will result in minimal stress for the fish.
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, pond, wetland, and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae, and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, shoreline erosion restoration, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil Steritech family of companies in North America.