An evaluation of electrofishing as a control measure for an invasive tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) population in northern Australia

Thuesen, P.A., Russell, D.J., Thomson, F.E., Pearce, M.G., Vallance, T.D., and Hogan, A.E. (2011) An evaluation of electrofishing as a control measure for an invasive tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) population in northern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 (2). pp. 110-118.

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Abstract

Combating the spread of invasive fish is problematic, with eradication rarely possible and control options varying enormously in their effectiveness. In two small impoundments in north-eastern Australia, an electrofishing removal program was conducted to control an invasive tilapia population. We hypothesised that electrofishing would reduce the population density of Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique tilapia), to limit the risk of downstream spread into areas of high conservation value. We sampled by electrofishing monthly for 33 months. Over this period, there was an 87% decline in catch per unit effort (CPUE) of mature fish, coupled with a corresponding increase of 366% in the number of juveniles, suggesting a density-dependent response in the stock–recruitment relationship for the population. Temperature was inversely related to CPUE (r = 0.43, lag = 10 days), implying greater electrofishing efficiency in cooler months. The reduction in breeding stock is likely to reduce the risk of spread and render the population vulnerable to other control measures such as netting and/or biological control. Importantly, the current study suggests routine electrofishing may be a useful control tool for invasive fish in small impoundments when the use of more destructive techniques, such as piscicides, is untenable.

Item ID: 20290
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: alien species, introduced fish, non-native fish, population control, Wet Tropics
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ISSN: 1448-6059
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 06:18
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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