Peter Sorrensen, a professor at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology has come out in favour of installing more of Fish Guidance Systems’ innovative BAFF systems across the country.
Sorensen said in an interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune that “the best deterrent system is a Bio-Acoustic Fish Fence (BAFF) developed by a British company, Fish Guidance Systems. This system has already been installed below a lock and dam in Kentucky and is working effectively. The proposed deterrent system would help protect Minnesota waters from invasive carp and the confluences with the Minnesota River and St. Croix River, as well as Lake Pepin and Wisconsin’s Chippewa River.”
The BAFF system is a combination of a bubble screen and sound projection that prevents invasive carp species from moving upstream. Invasive carp threaten to become a serious issue in Minnesota rivers, endangering the ecosystem and recreational activities like water skiing and fishing. The silver carp, in particular, have become a major problem as they can leap out of the water in large numbers when they hear the sound of a boat motor. This has resulted in the end of quiet river cruises and has displaced both game and non-game fish.
The Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR), a conservation organization, are in talks with the state’s Fish and Wildlife service and is pushing for funding to install aBAFF system at Lock and Dam 5 on the Mississippi. This placement has been recommended by Professor Sorensen, who has been at the forefront of carp control in Minnesota and nationally for decades.
Sorensen’s research has included the control of sea lampreys in the Great Lakes and more recently, the control of both common carp and their invasive counterparts. Much of his work has been funded by Minnesota lottery money and he has tested the BAFF in a simulated river, which has been found to be 95 to 98% effective in keeping breeding populations from reaching the lock and dam.