Cropping, Removal, Rescue, Re-stocking, Transportation and Translocation
BFJ undertake numerous fish rescues throughout the country every year. Our bespoke fish transport ensures fish are well cared for between their place of rescue or capture to their final destination. We provide services to large corporate clients within the civil engineering sector as well as for statutory bodies, local councils and private fishery owners. BFJ staff have >25 individual years of fish handling and aquaculture skills to drawn upon, ensuring your fish receive the highest quality care.
We provide cropping services to fisheries which are overstocked as a result of continual recruitment. This enables the fishery to maintain good growth rates and removes stress on the wider fish population. This aspect of our work is often procured following a fishery advice visit and production of a strategic management plan. We provide comprehensive fisheries management plans through to fully serviced management of the fishery on an annual or bi-annual basis. This comprises of full evaluation of the fishery, production of a management plan and strategy document which is complimented by cropping, stocking, anti-predator measures, habitat management, fish refuges, habitat creation, oxygenation measures, bio-security protocols etc.
Following pollution events, adverse environmental incidents or poor stock recruitment we carry out re-stocking of Stillwater and riverine systems. We also stock elvers as part of eel management plan strategies to create sustainable eel populations.
We undertake removal and translocation services for fish that require rehoming or removal prior to large engineering or maintenance works or in the case of pollution events. Translocations can be within the same river system, or following suitable permissions and health checks, another river entirely.
Fish Health, Ageing, Growth Performance
Fish health assessment is an essential component of fisheries management, particularly when applied to stocked waters. Introducing fish can be a potentially risky business without the necessary steps being taken to ensure the stocked fish are in good condition and free from category 2 parasites or other serious infections. Furthermore, it presents an opportunity to evaluate the quality of the fish the prospective purchaser intends to buy. Fish health is far more than this though. Understanding the parasite mechanisms and bacteria infections that fish are subjected to enables accurate assessment of fishery management techniques and facilitates rapid identification when issues occur.
We routinely undertake fish health checks for stocking and transporting fish as well after pollution events and as part of fisheries investigations. We investigate causes of mortality in fish, in rivers, canals, lakes and stillwaters. As part of our fish mortality work we regularly undertake further investigations including health assessment via our fully equipped laboratory based in our Leicestershire offices.
Ageing fish is undertaken to determine the age structure of populations following biometric data collection from fisheries surveys.
This is useful for assessing the population structure of a location and determining whether it has been impacted by environmental events or anthropogenic activities.
Biometric data is collected to evaluate and quantify the length frequency of fish populations. This enables comparisons between different populations regarding growth and population size structure.
By looking at the growth of an individual fish over several years it is possible to determine whether it’s individual growth, and those of its conspecifics, are above or below expectations, based upon large datasets. In some cases where data is regularly collected, years of poor growth can be determined by comparing previous years growth assessments. This enables the fishery owner, manager, or regulator to identify causes of poor growth, supporting plans to correct this through fisheries management actions.
BFJ carry out fish ageing and growth performance analysis for riverine and Stillwater fisheries. Where we find anomalies, we use this data to support actions required to address issues facing the specific fishery, incorporating these within our reports and recommendations
Tagging, Tracking and Telemetry
In order to adequately understand what fish do over time, it is necessary to monitor their movements, either on a short term basis or longer term over several years. The range of movement varies from species and particular study. Some projects require behavioural movements to be observed and quantified over short distances, such as passing obstacles or barrier passes, others relate to long distance migrations, use of tidal river systems and estuaries. We carry out this work deploying a variety of methods and technologies.
Fish undertake migrations at key times of the year, such as seasonal overwintering migration, and spawning migration during spring/early summer. In order to monitor their movements, we use the very latest technology to track when and where they move. This necessitates tagging the fish with RFID, radio, or acoustic transponding technologies. Some tags are short duration suitable for behavioural studies, others require long term data delivered from larger tags or through the deployment of RFID tag technology.
BFJ work on projects throughout the UK, from small upland stream smolt tagging to large scale coarse fish tagging and tracking projects on extensive lowland river systems. Our work takes us throughout the UK, working on a variety of projects in a variety of rivers, streams, lakes and canals.
We are suppliers of RFID technologies and supply PIT and hydroacoustic transponding tags, RFID detection readers and aerial technologies. We design and construct bespoke solutions to remote monitoring of fish passes, weirs, obstructions and pinch points. We are able to supply bespoke security packaged solutions for deployment on land or water, incorporating solar power and fuel cell technologies into our remote units. Most are designed to run for a month at a time and the solar units can operate for years, limited only by your storage capacity for the data. We provide modem-based solutions to data security and storage and our able to supply bespoke solutions to specific requirements. We adopt a solution driven approach to telemetry in remote fish monitoring!
Fish Passage, Fish Pass Assessment
Interest in fish movement, particularly coarse fish, has increased substantially in recent years. The legislative focus on fish passage has seen an increase in fish pass construction.
Construction of a fish pass is costly and time consuming. It is imperative the finished product is robustly evaluated for efficiency and efficacy. Without this evaluation, the pass effectiveness remains unknown.
Presence of fish upstream does suggest passage, but doesn’t relate to the proportion of the fish that attempted to pass. Effective evaluation of a fish pass should begin at the design stage in order to ensure the optimum solution is developed.
Our experience of fish pass evaluation ranges from Larineir fish passes for salmonids in upland areas to lowland fish passes for facilitating coarse fish movement.Our unique experience in evaluating novel fish passage solutions, such as fish syphons, ensures we are well placed to provide expert evaluation for all fish passage solutions.
Barriers to fish movement take many forms, from large obvious structures to difficult flows or low dissolved oxygen slugs in estuaries or tidal sections of rivers. Understanding fish movements, and fish biology and ecology are essential components in the collective understanding of what impedes fish and how to overcome or ameliorate the effects of such. BFJ undertake fish barrier assessment, design and implement projects in order to address these problems. We operate in tidal rivers and estuaries as well fluvial rivers and streams and lakes. Our work takes us from city reaches of larger rivers to far into upland catchments and small streams.
Conventional Fisheries Surveys
Traditionally fish surveys comprise of netting or electrofishing methodologies in order to estimate the fish population or determine the assemblage.
The netting surveys are usually seine, fyke, wrap round, box or block net surveys. Trawling is also undertaken where suitable. We deploy Otter and Beam trawls in tidal and estuarine locations. Trapping can provide useful information and is important in controlling invasive species as well as for passive fish removal. We are able to provide fish stock assessment, population estimates, size and length frequency data as well as fish health assessment. We provide services to all aspects of fishery management, providing a ‘solution’ based approach.
Electrofishing is carried out as multiple pass or multi-shock depletion surveys, also referred to as catch depletion surveys.
Continuous qualitative surveys and Point Abundance Surveys by Electrofishing (PASE) are regularly deployed. We carry out numerous electrofishing surveys every year. These can be wadeable, single pass stream surveys, using backpack electrofishing equipment, or larger 4 man electrofishing teams.
BFJ deploy the above methods in order to address our client’s needs and evaluate and quantify fish populations. We have >90 years combined experience in the deployment of conventional survey techniques and are capable of fielding experienced 2-4 man teams throughout the UK. We routinely provide support for Civil engineering companies, which require removal or rescue of fish from target areas, to clearing fish from a section of waterway to enable bridge inspections to be undertaken without damaging the fish and their environment. We are contracted by utility companies to investigate potential pollution effects, and contracted to design and carry out mitigation measures where appropriate.
Novel Fisheries Surveys
Hydroacoustic surveys use sound waves to detect fish within the water column. They are suitable for surveying large lowland tidal rivers and lakes, and are capable of providing estimates, quantifying the total fish population distribution over a single night of surveying. This permits stock assessment for the first time, since conventional methods are often unsuitable for large, dynamic, rivers systems. We employ dedicated acousticians to carry out hydroacoustic surveys and post process the data. Our staff are experienced in operating industry standard equipment. We deploy hydroacoustic surveys across all of the UK.
High Resolution Sonar
We deploy the industry-leading standard: DIDSON-dual frequency identification sonar and ARIS-adaptive resolution imaging sonar equipment. We are experienced in operating both types of sonar for fish surveys and assessment of fish movements around anthropogenic structures.
Both systems are highly capable of monitoring fish movements, and are also used in behavioural studies.