Preliminary results from the BAFF (BioAcoustic Fish Fence) system currently installed at Barkley Lock, Kentucky has demonstrated a 95% effectiveness against invasive carp.

The results, which were reported by Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White, show that the BAFF system is replicating its lab-based success in a real world setting.

The trial is ongoing until 2023, but these results are the first glimpse at the potential of BAFF systems in the fight against invasive carp. The system, which uses customised sound signals, HIgh Intensity Lights and an air bubble curtain, was installed in 2019 and opened by then Senate Majority Leader, and Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell. Further tagging and data will be collected throughout the trial to show how the BAFF system works over the long-term.

Fish Guidance Systems, who have been working in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Army Corp of Engineers, the University of Minnesota and USGS, developed the technology behind the system and have over 25 years of experience in working with acoustic-based fish deterrent systems.
As this is a research project, improvements are also being made throughout the trial. Back in May, FGS installed upgraded projectors and made other changes to the system.

Barkley Lock Results

The results, which are preliminary, were gathered by monitoring 254 tagged carp from November 1, 2020, until February 13, 2021. During this period the system was switched on for a week, and then off for a week. This is done to provide appropriate data on the system’s effectiveness.

Between November and February, 57 fish crossed the BAFF when it was turned off, but only four crossed it when the system was switched on.

According to the report by WKDZ  ‘the BAFF was approached by carp 3,181 times when it was inactive, but only 612 times when it was live — perhaps suggesting the fish developed some sort of avoidance behavior.’

Overall, the results released show that the system is 95% effective as a deterrent.

Real World Results From the BioAcoustic Fish Fence (BAFF)

Dr David Lambert, Managing Director of Fish Guidance Systems states, “The BAFF system is an environmentally-friendly solution to a problem that is threatening aquatic ecosystems across the United States. As scientists and environmentalists we are really pleased with the preliminary results.”

Future Work

Judge White stated that ‘the news was promising and a critical first step in understanding the technology, but that more time is needed to complete the study. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to observe fish behavior over different seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter), and there’s ongoing efforts to tag more carp for a larger sample size of data.’
Fish Guidance Systems is already working with local, state and federal agencies to help tackle invasive carp. For further information on how we can help your state or organisation please email [email protected]