Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effects of a vertical electric barrier on the behaviour of Rainbow Trout.

Abstract

When dealing with invasive fishes, permanent barriers may inhibit spread, but may not be feasible due to costs and logistical constraints. Alternatively, non-permanent barriers using electricity, light, sound, pressure, bubbles, and CO2 are being developed and deployed in efforts to limit and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species or to achieve fish guidance and conservation. However, the effectiveness of these barriers is quite variable and testing is often lacking for both invasive and native species. We conducted a laboratory experiment to investigate the impact of vertical electric barrier on behaviour of Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. In response to electric current, Rainbow Trout responded by significantly decreasing passage through the electric barrier zone and spending more time away from the electric barrier when it was turned on during the stimulus period compared to pre-stimulus period. Moreover, when interacting with electric barrier, Rainbow Trout exhibited certain behaviours (e.g. stunned and remained on the same side of the barrier, stunned and crossed the barrier) more than others (e.g. approach and retreat, deflected, and paralyzed). Moreover, it appears that Rainbow Trout remained distant from the electric barrier even after the electric barrier was turned off. Our results indicate that relatively weak electric gradient (i.e. voltage gradient: 0.2 - 0.4 vcm1, power density: 3 - 42 mWcm3) can inhibit the movement of Rainbow Trout. Our results also highlight the importance of detailed investigation of behavioural responses of target species when evaluating and considering fish-deterrent or guidance technologies.