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A shocking good time
Midwest Region, October 12, 2011
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Fish response being evaluated by Dr. Tracy Hill and Shawn Banks, and Wyatt Doyle is recording the fish response for documentation and future reference.
Fish response being evaluated by Dr. Tracy Hill and Shawn Banks, and Wyatt Doyle is recording the fish response for documentation and future reference. - Photo Credit: Dr. Jan Dean USFWS

The Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) recently retrofitted their electrofishing boat Roman 6 with a Midwest Lake Electrofishing Infinity Box. The station has been using the unit for monitoring Asian carp in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). The Columbia FWCO enlisted the electrofishing expertise of Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery Assistant Manager Dr. Jan Dean to determine which settings on the Infinity Box would allow for greatest capture efficiencies for Asian carp. The design of the Infinity Shock Box enables independent control of electrical frequency, duty cycle (the percent of time the electrical current is on) and voltage, which in essence provides an infinite variety of electrofishing settings. Asian carp and tank space for the study was provided by the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center.

 

Once the tank was set up, small Asian carp (silver and bighead carp) were introduced into the tank which was then energized for about four seconds. Fish response to the Infinity Box settings was noted. This was repeated multiple times to determine the appropriate waveforms and power levels needed for fish attraction to the electrode and for immobilization of the fish. These responses are important for capturing fish when electrofishing. Results learned in the tank study will be utilized in the field to determine if capture success for Asian carp can be increased.

Asian carp are considered aquatic invasive species which were imported from China in the late 1960s and 1970s to control aquatic vegetation and excess plankton production in aquaculture ponds. Some of these fish escaped into large rivers during flood events where they are now naturally reproducing. Substantial efforts to keep them from spreading into the Great Lakes are currently being taken by a number of state and federal agencies, and a key control point for these efforts is the CAWS. The Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office have been involved in those efforts, and that was the main reason for this study.


Contact Info: Tracy Hill, 573-234-2132 x102, tracy_hill@fws.gov



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