The incidence and severity of trauma associated with multiple-pass electrofishing and the effects on short-term (30-d) survival and growth of Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis, and five representative co-inhabiting nontarget or bycatch species were examined. Fish were held in four rectangular fiberglass tanks (190 × 66 cm) equipped with electrodes, a gravel–cobble stream substrate, and continuous water flow. Fish were exposed to one, two, or three electroshocks (100-V, 60-Hz pulsed DC) spaced 1 h apart or were held as a control. The heterogeneous field produced a mean (±SD) voltage gradient of 0.23 ± 0.024 V/cm (range = 0.20–0.30 V/cm) with a duty cycle of 30% and a 5-s exposure. Radiographs of 355 fish were examined for evidence of spinal injuries, and necropsies were performed on 303 fish to assess hemorrhagic trauma in soft tissue. Using linear regression, we demonstrated significant relationships between the number of electrical shocks and the frequency and severity of hemorrhagic and spinal trauma in each of the nontarget species (Potomac Sculpin Cottus girardi, Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus, Fathead Minnow Pimephales promelas, Green Sunfish Lepomis cyanellus, and Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides). Most of the injuries in these species were either minor or moderate. Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout generally sustained the highest incidence and severity of injuries, but those injuries were generally independent of the number of treatments. The 30-d postshock survival for the trout species was greater than 94%; survival for the bycatch species ranged from 80% (Fathead Minnow) to 100% (Green Sunfish and Channel Catfish). There were no significant differences in 30-d postshock condition factors despite observations of altered feeding behavior lasting several days to 1 week posttreatment in several of the study species.
Additional publication details
Frequency and Severity of Trauma in Fishes Subjected to Multiple-pass Depletion Electrofishing