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An assessment of fish herding techniques: Management implications for mass removal and control of silver carp

January 1, 2023

We assessed the effectiveness of herding techniques on adult Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix in a tributary to the Missouri River. Sites (600 m) were contained using block nets and treated with one of five herding techniques: (1) a method commonly used by commercial fishers in the United States (commercial technique), (2) pulsed-DC electrofishing (electric technique), (3) broadband sound administered with underwater speakers (sound technique), (4) both sound and electric in combination (combination technique), and (5) solely the boat, with no added stimulus (control). Treatments were administered at sites with repeated 20-min runs (3×) in a slow, bank-to-bank pattern downstream through a 4.5-m opening between the block net and shoreline. Herding effectiveness was quantified by run category (cumulative for the second and third runs) using adaptive resolution imaging sonar. Mean herding effectiveness of the combination technique was three to four times greater than that of the other techniques regardless of the number of runs included. The effectiveness of the combination technique was significantly greater than the sound technique and control with inclusion of the second run and the commercial technique with inclusion of the third run. All herding techniques, excluding the combination technique, were statistically similar to the control. Inclusion of the second run was advantageous for all techniques, as herding effectiveness increased 54–103%, whereas inclusion of the third run was less beneficial (9–17% increase). Repeated runs allowed fish additional time to vacate the sample reach, but behavioral responses (i.e., acclimation or sensitization) were likely technique dependent. This study describes which techniques are most effective for herding Silver Carp and provides insight for improving mass removal efforts.

Publication Year 2023
Title An assessment of fish herding techniques: Management implications for mass removal and control of silver carp
DOI 10.1002/nafm.10685
Authors Josey Lee Ridgway, Katelyn M. Lawson, Stephen August Shier, Robin Calfee, Duane Chapman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Index ID 70224549
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center