More efficient electric fishing machines are being used to monitor fresh water fish populations in New Zealand.
Twenty two staff from Wellington, Taranaki, Waikato and Hawke’s Bay regional councils and Fish and Game offices recently attended a two day course in safe fishing techniques at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Works Group offices, conveniently located next to the Tutaekuri River.
Patrick Cooney, an expert in fish sampling from US equipment suppliers Smith and Root, led the two day course in electric fishing. A day of theory and an examination was followed by a day of practical fishing experience in the Tutaekuri River.
The course is a requirement for staff using electric fishing to monitor freshwater fish populations. The water column is briefly electrified, which allows temporarily stunned fish to be easily captured, measured and recorded before being returned to the water.
“When used properly, electric fishing is a very efficient way of monitoring freshwater fish populations without harming fish and is a technique widely used by these organisations,” says Dr Andy Hicks, HBRC environmental science team leader.
Because more powerful machines have started to be used in New Zealand, the course is essential to ensure staff who operate them use them effectively and safely. HBRC environmental monitoring staff will be using the new equipment to help understand fish populations in the region.
22 December 2016