Electric bream

RESEARCHERS from Victoria’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) are trialling new techniques of surveying fish populations including using the world’s only electro-fishing boat capable of operating in saltwater.

Fish ecologist from DEPI’s Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) Jarod Lyon said: “Over the past two years our researchers have been assessing the health of Victoria’s estuarine environments using electro-fishing to survey fish communities as well as sonar to map important habitat and aggregations of fish.”

“Both techniques are much more cost effective and importantly less intrusive for the fish than traditional survey techniques such as netting,” Mr Lyon said.

“These monitoring techniques put ARI at the forefront of research into fish habitats and populations and provide a unique opportunity to get specific data about fish numbers and size whether they are in riverine, estuarine or marine habitats.”

“Electrofishing has been the primary technique for surveying freshwater habitats for many years now, so it was just a matter of time for this technology to advance and expand into more saline habitats.”

“We’ve already used the salt-water capable electro-fishing boat to collect brood fishing for in-hatchery breeding programs, survey fish populations in seagrass meadows as well as monitoring the numbers of fish species popular with anglers such as Flathead, Black Bream and Estuary Perch.”

The research paper – Using new electrofishing technology to amp-up fish sampling in estuarine habitats is available at

For a link to video of electro-fishing in Victoria go to:

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