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Evaluation of Laser and Acoustic Non-Lethal Bird Deterrent Technologies for Fish Farms in the North Central Region


Project Summary

Fish loss by bird predation causes substantial economic loss to fish farmers in the North Central Region (NCR). Economic experts estimate that predation losses likely represent at least a $20,000,000 annual loss among all NCR farms. Many farms have implemented deterrents to reduce avian predation but birds can often adapt quickly to new technologies and therefore these systems have had limited success. This project is designed to examine the effectiveness, ease of use, and practicality (e.g. cost/benefit) of acoustic and laser deterrent systems. These systems have been used effectively in other animal agricultural systems (e.g. poultry farms) but their efficacy has not been examined on the avian predators commonly observed in aquaculture. We will also test an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to examine the benefit of combining acoustic deterrents with laser systems and to see if combining techniques can further reduce predation. Acoustic deterrents were recently studied as part of the NCRAC funded rapid response project, “Evaluation of a new bird deterrent system in the North Central Region.” Building on that short-term experiment may help reduce predation. Successfully reducing avian predation loss in aquaculture would benefit producers and lead to a significant decrease in economic loss for NCR farms.


  1. Examine effectiveness of single deterrent (laser system or sound blanket system) for controlling avian predation at aquaculture production facilities
  2. Examine effectiveness of an integrated pest management approach to avian predation at aquaculture production facilities using a combination of laser and acoustic deterrent systems
  3. Identify costs associated with acquiring, operating, and maintaining commercially available bird deterrent technologies
  4. Develop programming and outreach materials for beginning and experienced farmers describing study results pertaining to outdoor aquaculture facilities and managing problematic birds

Duration:  2 Years (January 1, 2024-December 31, 2025)


PI:  Joe Gerken-Kansas State University

Co-PI:  Stuart Carlton-Purdue University

Co-PI:  Amy Shambach-Purdue University

Co-PI:  Jason Garvon-Lake Superior State University

Project Outline


Award Amount


Award Number

2022-38500-38103, Year 1, $181,805

2023-38500-40773, Year 2, $62,529