Standardization of electrofishing in waters with differing conductivities is critical when monitoring temporal and spatial differences in fish assemblages. We tested a model that can help improve the consistency of electrofishing by allowing control over the amount of power that is transferred to the fish. The primary objective was to verify, under controlled laboratory conditions, whether the model adequately described fish immobilization responses elicited with various electrical settings over a range of water conductivities. We found that the model accurately described empirical observations over conductivities ranging from 12 to 1,030 ??S/cm for DC and various pulsed-DC settings. Because the model requires knowledge of a fish's effective conductivity, an attribute that is likely to vary according to species, size, temperature, and other variables, a second objective was to gather available estimates of the effective conductivity of fish to examine the magnitude of variation and to assess whether in practical applications a standard effective conductivity value for fish may be assumed. We found that applying a standard fish effective conductivity of 115 ??S/cm introduced relatively little error into the estimation of the peak power density required to immobilize fish with electrofishing. However, this standard was derived from few estimates of fish effective conductivity and a limited number of species; more estimates are needed to validate our working standard.
Additional publication details
Test of a Power Transfer Model for Standardized Electrofishing