Fish Guidance Systems

Presentations to American Fisheries Society

Dr Andy Turnpenny, Company Director of THA Aquatic (Ashurst, Southampton), has recently returned from the 146th American Fisheries Society annual meeting, held in Kansas City. Andy, who has worked in fish screening and barrier design projects for over 30 years, is a regular presenter at AFS. This year Andy was invited to present two papers in the Theory and Application of Behavioral Guidance Technologies to Deter Invasive and Native Fish Symposium, a field which has become of great interest in North America. The first paper, entitled Design Concepts and Developments in Behavioural Fish Guidance described the complexities and pitfalls of behavioural fish barrier and guidance system design. “Fish barrier design has come a long way since the early days when we used to just build something in the workshop, put it into the water and see if it worked.”, said Andy. “Modern fish barrier design is based on sophisticated hydraulic, acoustic and other modelling and computer optimization, with equipment that is self-monitoring and reporting, and with comprehensive performance testing using state-of-the-art fish telemetry techniques. We now have a much better understanding of the biology and the engineering aspects of barrier design”.

Andy’s second presentation, Special Considerations in Design of Barriers for Invasive Fish Control, developed the themes of the first talk, focusing on the additional challenges of using non-physical barriers (NPBs) to control the spread of non-native fish species such as Asian and European carp species which are problematical in the USA and Canada, gradually spreading upstream through many major river systems. He stressed that while these species are known react strongly to sound, they will repeatedly challenge any NPB system and successful deterrence systems must avoid the problem of habituation. FGS’s fish barriers have been specifically developed for these properties. Andy also said, “Fishery resource managers expect a silver bullet, a behavioural barrier which is 100% proof against fish passage, but this is wholly unrealistic. In doing so they are at risk of missing the point that effective control solutions can be found by mixed strategies that may include combinations of behavioural barrier types with other measures such as fish trapping and removal systems”.

FGS has worked in partnership with fisheries resource agencies, research groups and end users throughout the world to develop effective fish guidance solutions and is happy to discuss fish guidance applications of all kinds.