Part Six: How to determine if your habitat is working-
Over the last decade, artificial fish habitat has been placed in hundreds of waters from coast to coast, but astonishingly there has been little evidence provided that they live up to the claims made by their installers. We continue to ask, where are all the pictures, videos or even screenshots from fish finders proving and showing us that they work as well as the advertisements and PR articles claim? Doesn’t the claim of protection for small fish require seeing the small fish inside the habitat being protected? In this series, we felt it was important to provide more than bold assertions and proclamations, and actually show you Fishiding Artificial Fish Habitat models performing underwater. There must be a reason why the industry as a whole hasn’t done the same.
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It’s fairly easy to assemble some kind of artificial habitat in the garage, stand back admiringly and declare that it’s awesome and will work, but how do you really know that it will? When we observed our various model prototypes underwater in the field, we were often humbled by how little we really understood the needs and behavior of the fish we were designing the structures for. Because we can never really get into a fishes head and our own intuition about what should work is unreliable, testing is imperative to physically see what the fish prefer.
There’s four ways of trying to determine if your habitat is working. Each has limitations and drawbacks that should be considered. The most popular and least effective way is to fish around the structure. It can be tempting to declare success, if even a single fish is caught around newly placed habitat. Because artificial habitat is often placed in productive fishing spots to begin with, all that can be said is it doesn’t seem to repel fish. Another method is to try marking fish on a fish finder. The information you can collect with this method is also limited. You won’t see if any organic growth has taken place or if small fish or invertebrates have taken up residence. Larger fish may be spooked by the presence of your boat directly overhead and may not be counted. Underwater cameras lowered over the side of your boat will give you a visual idea of what things look like, but the angle of view is so narrow that it’s never really possible to view the habitat in its entirety. You may miss things just above, below or otherwise out of frame. The last and best method of evaluation is by scuba diving. This is the method we use to appraise Fishiding Artificial Fish Habitat. There’s no substitute for being in the water with the habitat and seeing it with your own eyes. It gives you the most complete picture of what’s happening within the habitat and how fish are relating to it.
While we typically film fish underwater by scuba diving, even here, there’s a caveat. We learned quickly that the mere presence of a diver can alter how fish behave. Often fish are attracted to a diver simply out of curiosity. To eliminate the possibility that fish were more interested in our cameraman than the habitat, we needed to film the fish alone to see what they were doing “when nobody was watching them”. That was the inspiration behind setting up cameras to surreptitiously film how fish interact with Fishiding habitat. We also weren’t satisfied with only getting a glimpse of them in a brief period of time, so we set up a time lapse camera.
The following video, although only a minute in length, was filmed over the course of hours of real-time. This approach gave us better insight into the amount of traffic that occurred at a Fishiding Habitat site over a longer period of time. We’ve learned so much by watching the fish and we challenge anyone who works with artificial habitat to do the same. It’s this kind of observation that will expand our knowledge, propel the industry forward and give birth to more effective future designs and applications.
Designing and building effective fish habitat is a genuine science. It’s still in its infancy, but we’re learning a great deal every day about the nuances of design and deployment. With today’s deep interest in artificial fish habitat, we’re eager to share our findings with fisheries professionals who want to learn more. In this continuing series, we’ll show you underwater video of how fish utilize artificial habitat and why so many popular designs are completely ineffective.
If you’ve missed any part of this series you can catch up at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Krzy... For more information contact David Ewald at https://www.fishiding.com Phone: (815) 693-0894 Email: email@example.com