The predation of fish by birds is a significant economic loss to fish farmers and killing those birds is becoming less acceptable within our society. Estimated economic losses on individual farms range as high as $500,000 in the Northeast to over $25 million annually in the catfish industry. This project seeks to evaluate a new non-lethal method of deterring avian predators that relies on disrupting communications among birds, which in turn makes the local area uninhabitable even when an abundance of food is available. This method is in use in the fruit tree industries throughout the US. In those industries, multiple species of birds are destroying crops. The Sound Blanket system discourages consumption of agricultural crops leaving their more natural food items as the available food supply. This non-lethal deterrent system has not been evaluated in aquaculture where a unique suite of predacious birds exist. Diminishing losses to predacious birds would significantly improve the economic viability of aquaculture operations and result in more fish in the US supply chain. Further, using non-lethal means of reducing predation would result in a significant new marketing opportunity (environmentally friendly, food production compatible with ecosystems, etc.) that fits well within the newer definitions of sustainability.
The objective of this project is the evaluation of the Sound Blanket system from Wildlife Defense Systems, Inc. as a method of deterring predation of fish by birds in the North Central Region (NCR).
Duration: 1 year (August 1, 2020 - July 31, 2021)
- Paul B Brown - Purdue University
- Robert Rode - Purdue University
- Brian MacGowan - Purdue University
- Jason Garvon - Lake Superior State University
- Dan Vogler - Harietta Hills Trout Farm