A new paper by leading academic Professor Peter Sorensen and research student Jane Feely shows sound barriers for invasive carp that also contain bubble curtains perform better than those without.

The paper entitled, Effects of an ensonifed (Induced with sound) bubble curtain and a cyclic sound on blocking 10 species of fishes including 4 invasive carps in a laboratory fume, has just been published and provides some interesting conclusions on the deployment of a BAFF to manage invasive carp.

Invasive carp, including bighead, silver, common, and grass carp, have become a growing threat to North American waterways. Originally from Asia, these fish were introduced to local rivers and lakes for aquaculture purposes. However, some escaped and found their way into the wild, where they have wreaked havoc on native species and disrupted entire ecosystems.

To combat this problem, researchers have been exploring different ways to deter invasive carp and prevent them from spreading further. One promising solution is the use of an “ensonified bubble curtain” (EBC), such as the BioAcoustic Fish Fence (BAFF). This system uses sound waves captured within a bubble curtain to create a barrier that the fish are reluctant to cross.

The study by Feely and Sorensen tested the effectiveness of both a sound-only system and an EBC system in deterring invasive carp, as well as several native species. The results showed that all four species of carp were blocked by the EBC system, with deflection efficiencies ranging from 92-97% and no habituation was observed. In contrast, the sound-only system showed lower deflection rates, ranging from 21-86%, and the grass and silver carp showed habituation to the sound signal when there were no bubbles.

These findings suggest that sound-only systems will be significantly less effective in deterring grass and silver carp than EBC systems, such as the BAFF. 

Dr David Lambert, Managing Director of Fish Guidance Systems stated “The results show that a sound only based system will potentially fail to provide an effective deterrent for grass and silver carp, while a BAFF should deter all of the invasive carp, including grass carp.”

A BAFF system is currently being assessed at Barkley Lock and Dr Lambert stated “the initial results from Barkley are very encouraging, proving that the BAFF can be a key tool in the management of invasive carp throughout North American waterways”. 

For further information on the BAFF and the results from Barkley please contact [email protected]