Effectiveness of an Electrical Barrier in Blocking a Sea Lamprey Spawning Migration on the Jordan River, Michigan


W D. Swink

Publication Date



Fyke nets, lamprey, mark-recapture, migration, spawning, streams, upstream

Journal or Book Title

North American Journal of Fisheries Management


Mark-recapture studies indicated that a pulsed-DC electrical barrier set to a 2-ms pulse width and 10 pulses/s completely blocked the spawning migration of sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus in the Jordan River, Michigan. Capture efficiency of fyke nets averaged 24% for four groups, about 300 tagged sea lampreys each, released upstream of the barrier; no unmarked sea lampreys and none of the 1,194 sea lampreys tagged and released downstream of the barrier were captured in the fyke nets while the barrier was energized. At a lower pulsator setting (1-ms pulse width, 10 pulses/s), 1 of 900 sea lampreys released below the barrier was recaptured in the nets. Sea lampreys from downstream were captured in the fyke nets after the barrier was de-energized, indicating that the barrier should remain in operation later than mid-July. Both sea lampreys and teleosts exposed to the electrical field were stunned but exhibited no apparent damage at either barrier setting. The pulsed DC electrical barrier should help reduce the use of chemical lampricides for controlling sea lampreys in some Great Lakes streams and would be particularly suited for streams where even the smallest low-head barrier would create an unacceptably large impoundment.





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