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Juvenile salmon held in a hand

Electrofishing Surveys

Electrofishing is a survey method that uses electricity to temporarily stun fish for easy capture and study.

Why are electrofishing surveys performed?

Electrofishing is an important tool for gaining insight into a watercourse’s health and community through surveying the fish community.

Fish are often the top predators in a freshwater community which means any changes made to the community is often reflected in the fish population. For example, a pesticide spill into a stream may wipe out the invertebrate community which in turn leads to the disappearance of invertebrate-feeding fish.

Electrofishing can also be a useful tool for conserving a fish community if a watercourse is being impacted by construction or being drained. The fish can be stunned, stored, and relocated to more suitable habitat.



When do I need to do an electrofishing survey?

Electrofishing can be used to relocate fish communities which may be impacted by planned construction or channel/river drainage.

Alternatively, electrofishing surveys may be carried out on behalf of governing bodies, charitable organisations, or landowners in order to monitor habitat improvements, conservation measures, or track populations.

A river lampray held in a hand
Electrofishing a river with boat and kit

What does Abrehart Ecology offer?

We at Abrehart Ecology provide electrofishing surveys using specialist electrofishing equipment undertaken by experienced surveyors.

A mild electrical current is passed through the watercourse which stuns and immobilises any fish that may be in that area. The fish are then netted and placed into an aerated holding tank to recover.

If needed, the fish are identified, weighed, measured, and a single scale is taken from a proportion of the caught fish to gain insight into the age range in the community.


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