Assessment and control of non‐indigenous brown bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus populations using fyke nets in shallow ponds

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In order to evaluate fyke nets as a tool for population assessment and mass removal of brown bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus populations, small, shallow ponds were sampled during late summer in 1999 and 2000. Catch efficiency, species and size selectivity of fyke nets were investigated with the mark‐recapture method. Two different strategies were applied: (1) on six occasions, the mark‐recapture method was applied to entire populations, and (2) in six other cases, sampling was done in two replicated enclosed areas (625 m2). When applied to entire populations, fyke nets were found to be size selective, and capture efficiency significantly increased with standard length. Conversely, no size selectivity of fyke nets was found in enclosed areas. Sampling in replicated enclosures yielded reproducible estimates of population density and biomass. The results suggest that double fyke nets, when combined with the mark‐recapture technique, are a very useful tool for the efficient and reliable assessment of brown bullhead populations. The results of the study also suggest that double fyke nets may potentially be a cost‐effective tool for the mass removal of non‐indigenous brown bullhead populations.

Keywords: Ameiurus nebulosus; mark‐recapture; non‐indigenous species; population assessment; population control

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, K.U. Leuven, Charles de Bériotstraat 32, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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