Adverse effects on fishes captured by electrofishing techniques have long been recognized, although the extent of associated physical injury and behavioral alterations are highly variable and dependent on a number of factors. We examined the effects of three-pass pulsed DC (PDC) electrofishing on two salmonid species (Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis) and five other genera (Green Sunfish Lepomis cyanellus, Potomac Sculpin Cottus girardi, Fathead Minnow Pimephales promelas, Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, and Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus) common to Appalachian streams. We examined the corresponding effects of PDC electroshock on the following physiological indicators of stress and trauma: blood glucose and serum lactate, as well as on other blood chemistry, namely, enzymes, electrolytes, minerals, and proteins. All species demonstrated physiological responses to PDC electroshock, indicated by the biochemical differences in blood parameters in unshocked and shocked groups of fish with or without gross evidence of hemorrhagic trauma. Serum lactate was the most consistent indicator of these effects. Significant differences in whole blood glucose levels were also noted in treatment groups in all species except Green Sunfish, although the patterns observed were not as consistent as for serum lactate. Elevations in the serum enzymes, aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase, in the electroshocked fish occurred only in the two salmonid species. In many instances, although blood parameters were elevated in electroshocked fish compared with the unshocked controls for a given species, there were no differences in those levels in electroshocked fish based on the presence of gross hemorrhagic trauma to axial musculature. While some of the blood parameters examined correlated with both the occurrence of electroshock and the resultant tissue injury, there was no apparent link between the altered blood chemistry and increased mortality 30 d after electrofishing.
Additional publication details
Effects of depletion sampling by standard three-pass pulsed DC electrofishing on blood chemistry parameters of fishes from Appalachian streams