[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

GLIN==> Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant News: Sound and Bubble Barrier Deters Asian Carp

July 21, 2005
Mark Pegg (309)543-6000; markpegg@express.cites.uiuc.edu
After 7/22: (402)472-6824; mpegg2@unl.edu
Phil Moy (920)683-4697; pmoy@aqua.wisc.edu
Pat Charlebois (847)872-0140; charlebo@uiuc.edu

Sound and Bubble Barrier Deters Asian Carp
Preventing Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes may include an idea as simple as using tiny bubbles and chirping-like noises. Mark Pegg and John Chick of the Illinois Natural History Survey found that an underwater acoustic barrier is effective in deterring these invasive species.
"The acoustic barrier works with the use of sound projectors and an air line that generates bubbles," said Pegg. "Typically, sound is muffled underwater, but bubbles provide a way to amplify the repellant sound and direct it to a specific area. And, the effervescence is an additional disturbance to the fish."
With funding from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, the researchers tested sound-bubble technology in fish raceways where it proved 95 percent effective in causing bighead and silver carp to turn around. "Since then we have learned more about what Asian carp actually hear, and we believe we can get the success rate closer to 100 percent," said Pegg.
Asian carp pose a threat to the Great Lakes fisheries because they eat zooplankton, which all fishes typically feed on in their juvenile stages, and have grown as large as 50 pounds in U.S. waters. They have been steadily moving up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers towards Lake Michigan where a temporary electric barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stands in their way. A permanent electric barrier is under construction and is likely to be up and running within the next six months.
Previously, as part of the same project, Chick and Pegg established that the electric barrier can be successful in stopping Asian carp. Since then, they found that the acoustic barrier can work effectively on its own and along with an electric barrier.
"Because the acoustic barrier design is so simple, installation, operation and maintenance of this system is an affordable option," said Pegg. "And since it doesn't require much electricity, during a power outage an acoustic barrier can easily run off a generator."
Sound-bubble technology was developed by Fish Guidance Systems, Ltd. It has been used widely to divert fish where their presence is unwanted, such as hydroelectric plant intake sites. Pegg and Chick's experiments are the first attempt to use this system in a cross-channel environment, in other words, where the goal is to cause the fish to turn around.
"The next step," said Phil Moy, Wisconsin Sea Grant aquatic invasive species specialist and chair of the Dispersal Barrier Advisory Panel, "is to test the acoustic technology on a larger scale in field trials. If funding becomes available and the technology continues to prove effective, an acoustic barrier may augment the electric barrier at its site, or downstream where it can protect the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal as well as the Des Plaines River."
At the Aquatic Invasive Species Summit in 2003, experts from around the country gathered in Chicago to discuss possible solutions to the movement of species between the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins. "The summit participants recommended that we focus on long-term solutions, but they also felt that we should pursue experimental technologies, such as acoustic systems, that might help in the interim," said Pat Charlebois, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant aquatic invasives specialist. "This technology presents a promising way to boost the efficacy of the electric barrier."
"Keep in mind, barriers will not prevent people from unintentionally moving species from one water body to another," added Charleois. "For example, young Asian carp closely resemble some common wild caught baitfish, so someone might spread these species without realizing it," explained Charlebois. "Outreach efforts need to continue so that people are made aware of the role they can play in preventing the spread of invasive species."
For more information on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species visit the Aquatic Nuisance Species Program Web site at www.iisgcp.org/il-ans/index2.html.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of more than 30 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes needs.  Funding is provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.

Irene Miles
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
376 NSRC
1101 W. Peabody Dr.
Urbana, Il 61801
(217) 333-8055
FAX (217) 333-8046