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From electrofishing to public engagement

by Zachery Wells

Thanks to funding received from the QCBS, I was able to take part in electrofishing training and become a certified backpack electrofisher during the first year of my Master’s. When taking this training I expected it to help mainly in the collection of my data, and ultimately, in my search for a career after graduation. What I didn’t expect was for it to act as a catalyst for public engagement. As our lab works just outside of a very small town on the tip of the Avalon peninsula in Cape Race, Newfoundland, you tend to get noticed when wearing what looks like a robot on your back. Engaging with the public as they slowed down was a nice break from field work, and gave us an opportunity to explain the work we were doing.

Electrofishing in Cape Race

But also, research! The electrofisher is the main tool used by fisheries biologists to collect data on fish. My certification allowed me to complete my Master’s, as my data (the gametes of male and female brook trout) were collected entirely using this method. I have since been able to present my preliminary research findings to the community of Cape Race, Newfoundland, and more recently at the Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society – Ontario Chapter, in Orillia, Ontario.

Public outreach
Post date: December 20, 2016


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