Fisheries Management: The Benefits of Electrofishing

Fisheries Management: The Benefits of Electrofishing

What exactly is electrofishing and what is it used for?

Whether you’re interested in creating a prized trophy fishery or just want to improve the health and longevity of your fishing pond, electrofishing is an essential tool for fisheries managers. This method is the primary sampling technique used to gather necessary information about the current state of a waterbody and determine what can be done to meet or exceed the goals of the specific fishery.

What exactly is electrofishing?

Electrofishing helps biologists track reproductive success and survival rates of fish species. The assessment is performed by sending an electric current into the water in order to safely stun any nearby fish. Stunned fish can then be easily scooped up in a net and placed in a temporary holding tank where they can revive and be observed for data collection. Most often, fish are measured, weighed and marked with PIT or Floy tags, which are used to determine the health and growth of the fish year over year. Then, they are released back into the water completely unharmed.

How does it work?

Electrofishing requires a crew of properly trained and licensed lake and pond management professionals as well as a specialized boat, which is often custom built. While electrofishing boats can vary in design, they are all outfitted with the same equipment, including a generator and redundant safety features. The generator directs an AC electric current to a specialized box where it is converted to a DC current—which is much safer for the fish—and then to two nodes overhanging the water. The box operator is able to dial in on specific pattern and strength settings based on the conductivity of the particular waterbody.