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Title: Hydroacoustic fishery assessment techniques : a feasibility study on the Mississippi River
Authors: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Environmental and Water Quality Operational Studies (U.S.)
Kanciruk, Paul.
Pennington, C. H.
Keywords: Underwater acoustics
Fishery management
Fish detection
Alluvial rivers
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Description: Technical Report
Abstract: In the past few years, advances in hydroacoustic fishery assessment DD techniques have been rapid and significant, and these techniques have been successfully applied to a variety of open-ocean, estuarine, lake, and northwestern-river environments. This study was initiated by the US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station to evaluate the usefulness of hydroacoustic techniques in large, alluvial river systems. The lower Cracraft dike field on the lower Mississippi River near the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana state boundaries was selected as the site for study because it presented a variety of habitats to test the equipment and because its physical and biological characteristics were known. The hydroacoustic equipment evaluated operated at a frequency of 420 kHz and included down- and side-facing transducers, dual-beam echo integrators, and digital recording equipment operated in mobile and stationary surveys. The equipment was applicable to a variety of habitats and survey objectives. It was found to be reliable, fairly easy to use (with adequate training), and provided information on fish abundance, distribution, and behavior patterns not easily attainable using conventional fishery assessment tools such as netting or electrofishing. The techniques worked well in this riverine environment and were not adversely affected by high turbidity and swift currents common around the dikes. In addition, the hydroacoustic equipment was able to provide information on sediment disturbance due to towboat passage and dredging, and potentially was able to characterize bottom sediment types. The major technical drawback to hydroacoustic techniques is their inability to identify fish species. Where species identity is essential, this drawback can be overcome by combining hydroacoustics with more traditional assessment tools. The major difficulties in implementation of hydroacoustics in a fishery assessment program are initial cost and operator training. However, these are balanced by the fact that the usefulness of the data obtained during a fishery survey is much enhanced when combined with hydroacoustic information and that the length of any survey will most likely be shortened (and therefore incur less labor costs) if hydroacoustic methods are employed. The training needed to operate the equipment and analyze the data is therefore justified.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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