Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Electro-Fishing

Electric fishing (or electro-fishing) has become one of the main methods available to assess fish populations for management and research purposes.  Although electric fishing can be a simple concept, like any activity that involves electric current, there is a continuing need to develop and promote Best Practice to ensure the safety of the operators as well as maintaining high standards of welfare of the fish. In addition, new equipment with variable outputs requires a better understanding of the method.

To help users of electric-fishing equipment improve their understanding of the theory and practice of this important fisheries management tool, Bill Beaumont, from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and an acknowledged world authority on this activity, has produced a unique 95 page operators manual, which gives clearly explained information on both the theory and practice of using the method.

Bill Beaumont, explains why the industry needs this comprehensive manual, “A recent survey identified that there was a great diversity of practice and a lack of consistency in approach to the choice of equipment and settings and a widely varying level of understanding of the basic principles of electro-fishing.  Worryingly there were also reports of occasional damage to fish.

Our aim was to improve upon existing contradictory information by produce a definitive guide that would help to minimise injuries to fish while improving basic operating performance.”

The guide, Electric Fishing: a complete guide to theory and practice,  is aimed  at anybody that uses electro-fishing such as river keepers, members of rivers trusts, Environment Agency staff or anyone involved in the  assessment of fish in rivers and is intended primarily for users of equipment in Great Britain and Republic of Ireland.

Bill Beaumont said, “The book does not aim to replace good quality training but does provide users with the background behind the theory and practice, including how to set up and use equipment safely, as well as techniques that should be used to both maximise capture but achieve low incidence of fish and human injury.”

Bill Beaumont is a fisheries scientist working at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Salmon and Trout Research Centre on the River Frome in Dorset.  He has over 35 years’ experience of electric fishing in habitats ranging from mountain tops to lowland rivers.  He has authored four scientific papers on electric fishing theory and is the author of the Environment Agency’s Guidelines for Electric Fishing Best Practice.  At the research centre in Dorset the fisheries research team hold a number of electric fishing training days during the year and  a 25% discount is offered to those buying the Trust’s new electric fishing guide on a training day.  The next basic and intermediate electric fishing courses are being held on 29 June and 30 June and can be made booked by telephone: 01425 651013 or email: lferguson@gwct.org.uk

For further information or to purchase a copy of the guide:  Electric Fishing: a complete guide to theory and practice, which is priced at £40 is available from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Burgate Manor, Fordingbirdge, Hampshire SP6 1EF or telephone: 01425 652381 or online: www.gwct.org.uk/shop