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Influence of a Weak Field of Pulsed DC Electricity on the Behavior and Incidence of Injury in Adult Steelhead and Pacific Lamprey, Final Report.

Description: Predation by pinnipeds, such as California sea lions Zalophus californianus, Pacific harbor seals Phoca vitulina, and Stellar sea lions Eumetopias jubatus on adult Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp in the lower Columbia River has become a serious concern for fishery managers trying to conserve and restore runs of threatened and endangered fish. As a result, Smith-Root, Incorporated (SRI; Vancouver, Washington), manufacturers of electrofishing and closely-related equipment, proposed a project to evaluate the potential of an electrical barrier to deter marine mammals and reduce the amount of predation on adult salmonids (SRI 2007). The objectives of their work were to develop, deploy, and evaluate a passive, integrated sonar and electric barrier that would selectively inhibit the upstream movements of marine mammals and reduce predation, but would not injure pinnipeds or impact anadromous fish migrations. However, before such a device could be deployed in the field, concerns by regional fishery managers about the potential effects of such a device on the migratory behavior of Pacific salmon, steelhead O. mykiss, Pacific lampreys Entoshpenus tridentata, and white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus, needed to be addressed. In this report, we describe the results of laboratory research designed to evaluate the effects of prototype electric barriers on adult steelhead and Pacific lampreys. The effects of electricity on fish have been widely studied and include injury or death (e.g., Sharber and Carothers 1988; Dwyer et al. 2001; Snyder 2003), physiological dysfunction (e.g., Schreck et al. 1976; Mesa and Schreck 1989), and altered behavior (Mesa and Schreck 1989). Much of this work was done to investigate the effects of electrofishing on fish in the wild. Because electrofishing operations would always use more severe electrical settings than those proposed for the pinniped barrier, results from these studies are probably not relevant to the work proposed by SRI. Field electrofishing operations typically ...
Date: February 13, 2009
Creator: Mesa, Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department