By CVC’s Kimberley Holt-Behrend

On a brisk August morning, 22 volunteers helped CVC staff electrofish in the Credit River.

Electrofishing is a scientific method used for sampling fish. Fish are momentarily stunned when a small amount of electricity is sent into the water. Fish are immediately caught in nets and carefully put into buckets for examination.      

The enthusiasm was electrifying. Participates suited up in chest waders, arm-length rubber gloves and polarized glasses. Safety is a top priority for CVC. Before beginning, crew leader Phil Bird explained how electrofishing is performed and how to safely use the equipment.

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CVC’s Phil Bird holding the northern hog sucker.

Each crew member had a specific job that ranged from netting, transporting and sorting the fish. Tensions were high. Participants were determined to net as many fish as possible. In the midst of it all, participants paused to catch a glimpse of a rare northern hog sucker that turned up in one of the nets.

The team worked tirelessly up and down the river rotating between jobs. Once out of the water, the crew was able to see all of their hard work. CVC staff sorted the morning’s catch and found 12 different fish species, ranging from the common minnow to the less frequently seen rainbow trout. Everyone paid close attention as Phil explained the different characteristics of each fish.

Each bucket contains different species of fish.
Each bucket contains different species of fish.

After identifying, weighing and measuring the fish, the crew had to say goodbye to their new found friends by safely releasing them back into the water.   

Fish are sensitive to change. They can tell us a lot about the health of our environment and the quality of our water. The information gathered will be used to measure the overall health of the watershed.

Volunteers are an important part of CVC’s conservation projects. Their enthusiasm and commitment make projects like this such a success.

If you would like to try electrofishing, visit CVC’s event calendar (www.creditvalley.ca/events) and register for free.  

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Volunteers work closely alongside CVC’s Nick [grey hat], as he uses electro rods to stun fish.
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