Does fish herding enhance catch rates and detection of invasive bigheaded carp?

Steven E. Butler, Anthony P. Porreca, Scott F. Collins, Jonathan A. Freedman, Joseph J. Parkos, Matthew J. Diana, David H Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fish herding (driving fish into nets) is used by commercial fishers to increase harvest of invasive bigheaded carp (Hypophthalmichthys spp.), yet has not been widely adopted for fisheries monitoring purposes. We conducted an experiment to assess whether fish herding using percussive sound or electrical stimuli can enhance catch rates and detection of bigheaded carp and other fishes in surface-to-bottom gill nets. Catch rates (fish net set −1 ) from traditional gill net sets where no herding method was applied were compared to sets combined with either sound stimuli (physical impacts to the boat hull and water surface to produce percussive sound) or electricity produced from a pulsed-DC electrofisher to manipulate fish movements. For most species, herding increased catch rates and detection probability compared to control sets. Sound stimuli increased catch rates of Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) by over three times, whereas electrical stimuli increased catch rates by over six times. Catch of Bighead Carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) was highest in nets paired with sound stimuli. Herding methods also reduced the number of samples required to attain target detection probabilities for bigheaded carp. Herding techniques combined with gill netting may be a valuable option for targeted bigheaded carp sampling, especially when electrofishing or netting alone is ineffective for these evasive fishes. Synergistic methods may provide a cost effective means of improving detection probabilities for bigheaded carp at their invasion front or other locations where densities are low and uncertainty of capture is high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-785
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Asian carp
  • Detection probability
  • Electrofishing
  • Gill nets
  • Hypophthalmichthys
  • Introduced species
  • Rivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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