The ongoing trial of Fish Guidance Systems’ BAFF (BioAcoustic Fish Fence) system at Barkley Lock, Kentucky continues to deliver impressive results, with non-translocated fish showing a 94.7% deflection rate and translocated fish showing a 76.8% deflection rate. As part of a management plan for invasive carp, the USGS has concluded that a deflection rate of just 50% would be effective.

More information on translocation can be found here, but in short, the results, which are preliminary, show the BAFF system provides a deflection rate well above the threshold needed to manage invasive carp species.

The news comes after an independent report by the Tennessee Valley Authority concluded that BAFF systems should be installed at seven locations across four states, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia.

BAFF Meets All Criteria

A BAFF system is a barrier that is formed, not by a physical screen or electricity, but with a combination of bubbles, sound and lights. 

It is placed across a ‘pinch point’ in a river, such as a lock or dam, and stops bighead, silver, grass and black carp from crossing the pinch point by using proprietary sounds that deter the invasive carp away from the lock gate – inhibiting their movement upstream.

The TVA defined their needs for a system to prevent invasive carp from spreading as – 

“The specific objectives of the fish barrier installations at locks along the Tennessee River system are to: 

1) Prevent or impede the upstream migration of invasive carp; and

2) Minimize the recruitment or establishment of invasive carp in the Tennessee River—all while allowing public access, maintaining public safety, preventing interference with navigation, and protecting native species.

The BAFF system fulfils both of these criteria by being a non physical barrier with a 94.7% deflection rate. 

Next Steps

The next huge step in the fight against invasive carp is to secure the funding from federal sources.  After that there is a design and survey phase, followed by installation.

However, this is not just a problem for the TVA, invasive carp are moving their way through the entire Mississippi Basin from New York, via the Erie Canal, all the way to Texas and Oklahoma.  Fish Guidance Systems is able to help states and authorities understand the options available to them regarding the use of BAFF systems to restrict the spread of invasive carp. For more information please email [email protected]