Electrofishing sends volts through the water, bringing stunned fish to the surface. It allows biologists to accurately assess fish populations and determine conservation actions. It can be used on large rivers or small streams.
On the Apalachicola River in Florida, biologists use electrofishing to monitor the migratory habits of shad. This knowledge has helped conservationists find ways to get shad over dams to their spawning streams.
When electrofishing for shad, other species are often caught, like this longnose gar. A predatory fish, the gar often attack shad. In fact, most shad bear bite marks from the gar's teeth.
On the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve in northern Florida, electrofishing is used on small streams. On this stream, a dam was removed. Biologists want to determine if fish are moving into the newly restored stream.
Does stream restoration and dam removal work? Prior to dam removal, scientists found one fish in this stream section. Today, electrofishing reveals dozens of fish of many different species. This is the result of electrofishing one section.
Spotted sunfish are one of the many colorful fish species that live in Florida streams, an incredibly diverse habitat.
Electrofishing can reveal many species, including salamanders, insect larvae and crayfish (pictured here).
Grass pickerel are one of many species that remain hidden from our eyes in tiny streams. Electrofishing doesn't lie: It enables scientists to accurately assess a stream.
Fish like brown madtoms can be indicators of the health of a stream. Through active research, biologists can preserve stream habitats--and the unique fish that live in them.
The Nature Conservancy
Join Conservancy scientists as they go electrofishing.