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Assessing the feasibility of using acoustic monitoring for Burbot conservation, management, and production

January 1, 2016

Burbot Lota lota is the sole freshwater representative of the cod-like fishes and supports subsistence, commercial, and recreational fisheries worldwide above approximately 40° N. It is a difficult species to manage effectively due to its preference for deep-water habitats and spawning activity under the ice in winter. Like other gadiform fishes, Burbot use acoustic signaling as part of their mating system, and while the acoustic repertoire of the species has been characterized under artificial conditions (i.e., net pen suspended under ice in a natural lake), there has been no work to determine whether the species is as vocal in natural spawning aggregations. Our objective was to assess the feasibility of collecting and using acoustic data to characterize the spawning activity and locations of Burbot under field conditions. We recorded audio and video of Burbot spawning aggregations through holes drilled into the ice at known spawning grounds at Moyie Lake in British Columbia, Canada. Acoustic recordings (call counts and audiograms) were analyzed using Raven Pro v 1. 4 software. Acoustic behavior was also related to video data to determine how acoustic activity correlated to any observed spawning behavior. In general, wild Burbot spawning in Moyie Lake did not vocalize as frequently as counterparts spawning under artificial conditions. Further, Burbot vocalizations were not recorded in conjunction with spawning activity. While it may be feasible to use passive acoustic monitoring to locate Burbot spawning grounds and identify periods of activity, it does not seem to hold much promise for locating and quantifying spawning activity in real time.

Publication Year 2016
Title Assessing the feasibility of using acoustic monitoring for Burbot conservation, management, and production
DOI 10.13140/RG.2.1.4581.2881
Authors Timothy B. Grabowski
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Cooperator Science Series
Series Number FWS/CSS-118-2016
Index ID 70192004
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta