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Comparison of electrofishing and PIT antennas for detection of hatchery-reared Roundtail Chub (Gila robusta) stocked into a desert stream

March 7, 2022

Stocking of rare native fishes for conservation purposes is a common practice in the southwestern United States. Monitoring typically occurs after hatchery-reared fish are released to assess post-stocking movement and survival. We conducted a two-year study, in which tow-barge electrofishing and portable, flat-bed passive integrated transponder (PIT) antennas were used to monitor PIT-tagged, hatchery-reared roundtail chub (Gila robusta) following release into the upper Verde River in Arizona. Specifically, our study aimed to compare the performance of PIT antennas and electrofishing in detecting PIT tagged fish released in a small desert river and to examine the behavioral response of hatchery-reared roundtail chub after stocking. In both years, more fish were detected by antenna arrays (84%) than by electrofishing (30%). roundtail chub were significantly more likely to be detected by antennas than electrofishing each year; however, when antenna data were evaluated only during the few days in which electrofishing took place, there was no significant difference (Year 1, p=0.1784; Year 2, p=0.6295) in detection between gear types for the same time interval, suggesting that electrofishing and antennas are equally likely to detect fish during 48-72 hour time frames. Within 72 hours of release, antennas detected 100% of fish that moved upstream and 93.8% of fish that moved downstream from the stocking location. Overall, less than half (45.6% in Year 1; 41.1% in Year 2) of the stocked roundtail chub were detected using both methods in both years. Utilization of both active capture gear (electrofishing) and passive gear (antennae) had advantages over monitoring with a single method. PIT antennae can be especially useful for managers who lack the personnel or time to implement more intensive methods of capture but want to monitor post-stocking movement and survival of stocked fish.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Comparison of electrofishing and PIT antennas for detection of hatchery-reared Roundtail Chub (Gila robusta) stocked into a desert stream
DOI 10.2181/036.049.0209
Authors Laura A. Tennant, David Ward, Alice C. Gibb
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science
Series Number
Index ID 70229415
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center