Training

This page is for new users of electrofishing gear.

You might be working for an organisation interested in adding electrofishing to their sampling capacity, or a new electrofishing technician at a Fisheries department. Below is the pathway we recommend at electrofishing.net – from an introductory online safety course to all-in, hands-on training.

Getting into electrofishing can be quite daunting for individuals and organisations. Before electrofishing.net, there wasn’t really anywhere that provided an overview of the training opportunities and other learning resources that were available. The main providers of training are the US Fish & Wildlife Service and some manufacturers, such as Smith-Root.

What follows is our recommended pathway through the current electrofishing training landscape.

 

Step 1: Download and read this safety training presentation

Click here to download the file from the electrofishing.net blog

Step 2: Take online safety training

As a second step, we recommend taking this free, online course from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service called Electrofishing Safety (CSP2202). It covers the basics of electrofishing, plus everything you need to know to stay safe while backpack, boat and shore-based electrofishing.

Read more about the safety course
You will increase your knowledge of and skills in electrofishing safety that will result in reduced incidents and injuries to crew members while maintaining efficient job performance.

For U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees, the Service electrofishing safety policy (241 FW6) states that:

6.6 C. “All members of the electrofishing team must receive an electrofishing safety orientation at least once per season and prior to the start of electrofishing activities or when they join the team during the field season.”

“The safety orientation must include the NCTC Electrofishing Safety course (FIS2202).”

The course is run by Dr Alan Temple, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service electrofishing instructor, in partnership with some other tutors. You can enroll online at any time and undertake the work when it suits you. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will provide you with a formal certificate when you complete the course. You can review the course materials here.

Before you enroll, you will need to create an account in DOI Learn – the Department of Interior’s education platform. Then, you will be able to register and take the course. You can download detailed instructions on how to register for an account enrol below.

DOI Learn – Request Account and Register for Class Electrofishing

Step 3: Take advanced training online

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also offers an advanced training course called Principles & Techniques of Electrofishing online (CSP2c01). Just like Electrofishing Safety (CSP2202), this course is available online for just $50.

Read more about the online course
The course builds knowledge and skills that will enable biologists (and other users) to increase the standardization and efficiency of electrofishing sampling while operating in a safer manner. Participants learn how to apply electrical circuit and field concepts to various challenges related to sampling, equipment performance, selection of suitable equipment, equipment trouble-shooting, fish injury, and safety.

You can find out more about the course and detailed instructions on how to enrol here.

Step 4: Take advanced training in-person

Self-led online learning is fine, but will never be able to fully replace the value of learning face-to-face. If you have time, electrofishing.net recommends attending an in-person training course. These range from 2 days to a week in length and involve both classroom and field-based lessons.

View 3 course options
Option 1

Smith-Root, a leading manufacturer of electrofishing systems, offers a 2-day course called Introduction to Electrofishing and Safety Principles. Attendees will receive an introduction to the principles of electricity applied to capture of fish.

In addition, they will learn:

  • How to use different kinds of equipment;
  • How to work in a variety of environments;
  • How to work with a variety of target species, or in different life stages;
  • Operation and safety, including dangers to humans and fish; and,
  • Electrofishing techniques as they apply to bioassessments, fisheries characterizations, population estimates, or age and growth studies.

The course is taught by Patrick Cooney – Director of Electrofishing Science and Communications Director at Smith-Root. – and costs $350.

You can find out more about the course and detailed instructions on how to enroll here.

Option 2

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service offers the Principles & Techniques of Electrofishing in-person (CSP2201) several times a year throughout the U.S. and often internationally. The course covers all the material provided in the online version, but with added practical modules and hands-on training. Upon completing the course you will have the skills to:

  • improve standardized sampling and efficiency by developing power/power density goal settings (power and electric field standardization), manipulating waveform attributes (type, frequency, duty cycle, voltage, etc.), evaluating electrode design and placement; and incorporating efficiency factors in sampling designs;
  • evaluate equipment by estimating effective operating range across water conductivities based on equipment specifications, electrode resistance, and power required for successful electrofishing;
  • evaluate equipment by considering waveform control, metering, and safety features;
  • operate electrofishing equipment safely;
  • develop a safety program for staff;
  • use a fish injury risk model to assess and minimize electrofishing-induced fish injury;
  • evaluate the usefulness of catch per unit effort data to detect trends;
  • describe a process to estimate capture probabilities and then to use these estimates to adjust catch per effort data to abundance estimates; and,
  • understand and apply concepts presented in the electrofishing literature.

The cost of this training is $1195.

You can find out more about the course and detailed instructions on how to enroll here.

Option 3

The Northwest Environmental Training Centre runs courses led by Professor Jim Reynolds, an electrofishing legend, on both backpack electrofishing and boat electrofishing.

Backpack Electrofishing: Principles and Practices

This course combines classroom lecture with field demonstration/participation exercises to give attendees the knowledge and basic experience they will need to safely and effectively electrofish. It includes two days of classroom lecture with a field day in the middle during which the concepts discussed in class will be demonstrated and practiced by attendees. The class will visit a stream/river/creek and each attendee will operate the equipment under the guidance of the instructor.

The day of field exercises provides attendees with real-world experience applying the concepts discussed in the classroom. The combination of classroom lecture, field demonstration, and participation exercises gives attendees the knowledge and basic experience they will need to safely and effectively electrofish.

Boat electrofishing: Principles and Practices

This three-day course will cover the principles and practices for boat electrofishing through two classroom days and one field day during which the concepts discussed in class will be demonstrated and practiced by attendees. The class will be taken on an electrofishing equipped craft, and each person will have the opportunity to practice using the boat-based electrofishing system.

This field day exercise provides attendees with real-world experience applying the concepts discussed in the classroom. The combination of classroom lecture, field demonstration, and participation exercises gives attendees the knowledge and basic experience they will need to safely and effectively electrofish.

The cost of these training courses vary from $845 – 995, depending upon registration date and whether you purchase the e-book.

You can find out more about the courses and detailed instructions on how to enroll here.

Check our events section for upcoming in-person courses.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!

 

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