Fish size and electrical waveforms have frequently been associated with variation in electrofishing effectiveness. Under controlled laboratory conditions, we measured the electrical power required by five electrical waveforms to immobilize eight fish species of diverse sizes and shapes. Fish size was indexed by total body length, surface area, volume, and weight; shape was indexed by the ratio of body length to body depth. Our objectives were to identify immobilization thresholds, elucidate the descriptors of fish size that were best associated with those immobilization thresholds, and determine whether the vulnerability of a species relative to other species remained constant across electrical treatments. The results confirmed that fish size is a key variable controlling the immobilization threshold and further suggested that the size descriptor best related to immobilization is fish volume. The peak power needed to immobilize fish decreased rapidly with increasing fish volume in small fish but decreased slowly for fish larger than 75-100 cm 3. Furthermore, when we controlled for size and shape, different waveforms did not favor particular species, possibly because of the overwhelming effect of body size. Many of the immobilization inconsistencies previously attributed to species might simply represent the effect of disparities in body size.
Additional publication details
Immobilization thresholds of electrofishing relative to fish size