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Presentation on theme: "Electrofishing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electrofishing

2 Electrofishing • Electrical current is used to stun fish so they can be netted by a biologist • A generator supplies the electricity • A control unit allows the biologist to monitor the voltage and amperage of the electrical field to minimize fish injury and mortality

3 Basic types of electrofishing units:
Boat: generator and control unit in boat.


5 Basic types of electrofishing units:
Backpack: electrodes and generator; battery or gas-powered control unit.

6 Smith Root Model LR-24, 24 volt battery Ours was manufactured by Coffelt

7 Basic types of electrofishing units:
Shore unit - generator powered control unit, cables, and electrodes.

8 Safety first!!! All workers wear life jackets, high voltage gloves rubber boots Adequate numbers and placement of shutoff switches Avoid inclement weather, lightning, etc.

9 Current characteristics
Alternating current (AC) = characterized by a sequence of + and - waves that are equal, sinusoidal, and follow each other alternately at regular time intervals. On board: AC waveform Direct current Pulsed DC waveform

10 Current characteristics continued:
Frequency = total # of cycles per time unit = hertz (Hz) 1 Hz = 1 cycle per sec Common: pps Others: 5-40 pps, spiny-rayed fish 3-5 pps large catfish pps, small fish

11 Current characteristics continued:
Pulse width - “on” time of a DC pulse 80% duty cycle (drawn on board) 50% duty cycle

12 Generally accepted: • DC is less damaging than AC

13 Anode - positive electrode
Cathode - negative electrode Conductivity - capacity of ions in solution to convey an electrical current; directly related to inorganic dissolved solids (cations, e.g., Ca, Al, Mg, Na, and anions, e.g.., chloride, sulfate, nitrate)

14 Draw on board Voltage Current

15 Behavior and physiology:
electrotaxis = forced swimming induced by any kind of electrical current AC - forced swimming without orientation DC - forced swimming toward anode narcosis = muscular relaxation, may still swim tetany = state of muscle rigidity; fish immobilized

16 Boat electrofishing

17 Species effectively captured
• Most effective for near-shore, shallow habitat • Essential for sampling largemouth bass • Smallmouth bass, sunfishes, trouts

18 Influence of water conductivity
• Major factor affecting electrofishing effectiveness • Peak effectiveness at perhaps uS/cm? • Likely because, within this range, power transfer into fish from water is maximized. • Should always record conductivity

19 Low conductivity waters
• Requires high voltage, less current • Try high voltage (perhaps V) at low amperage • A large ground (negative electrode) may also help • Equipment may be “voltage-limited,” that is, cannot supply the required voltage

20 High conductivity • Requires high current, less voltage • Up to perhaps 1,000 uS/cm, we seem to obtain useful sample • Above 2,000 uS/cm, it really becomes hard to even get a sample • Problems from power limitation of the gear (too much current required), and large inefficiency of power transfer from water to fish

21 Problems of High Conductivity
• sample at night • fish are less likely to run from you small, intense field is more likely to get them at night, especially if the dipper goes on and off the pedal.

22 As conductivity increases, decrease electrode size.
• Done to decrease current drain on generator. • Get more voltage at the same amperage. • Submerge 50% of an electrosphere at 1,200 uS/cm conductivity, output meters read 120 V at 10 A. • Submerge 20%, 200 V, and perhaps only be at 7-8 A. • However, electric field configuration changes.

23 Day vs. night electrofishing
• More and larger LMB at night • General consensus is to electrofish at night in clear waters and in high water conductivity • Complex habitat - day for safety reasons

24 Considerations • When properly used, most fish can be released alive • Some concerns over fish injury; salmonids are especially sensitive




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