Comparison of 3 Electrofishing Gear Types Used to Capture Catfish

We compared catfish catch per unit effort (CPUE), species composition, and size distribution data collected by a Smith-Root 7.5 GPP boat-mounted electrofishing unit, a Smith-Root 7.5 GPP boat-mounted electrofishing unit used in conjunction with the Smith-Root “Catfish Zapper,” and with the micro-electronic device known as the “Skoal Box.” A combined 1,175 catfish were collected from 6 sites within the Cape Fear and Lumber rivers in the summers of 2000 and 2001. The Smith-Root 7.5 GPP (GPP) collected 549 catfish (46.7%) during the 2-year period while the Smith-Root 7.5 GPP used with the Catfish Zapper (GPP and Zapper) collected 466 catfish (39.7%). The Skoal Box collected 160 catfish (13.6%). ANOVA revealed no significant difference (P = 0.88) in catch rates of the GPP and the GPP and Zapper. However, the Skoal Box captured significantly fewer catfish compared to the GPP (P = 0.02) and to the GPP and Zapper (P = 0.03). There were no significant differences (P = 0.21) in species relative abundance between the GPP and the GPP and Zapper. However, the Skoal Box consistently under performed both the GPP (P = 0.01) and the GPP and Zapper (P = 0.04) by capturing significantly fewer overall fish. Fish lengths ranged in size from 33 mm to 1,025 mm and did not differ significantly among gear types.

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