In this article we examine how Rushing Waters Fisheries, Wisconsin's largest trout farm, partnered with Wisconsin-grown Migratory Bird Management to address their specific pest bird challenges as well as similar challenges facing and potential solutions to support Wisconsin’s aquaculture industry.
Rushing Waters Fisheries lies nestled on 80 acres of forest and valleys at the edge of the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Palmyra, Wisconsin. As these premises have been integrated into the surrounding environment they have also been prone to predation by local bird species, namely: Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Egrets, and Kingfishers.
Rushing Waters Fisheries addressed the problem of bird predation through a variety of traditional means, from installing "scarecrow" figures to utilizing kill permits from the USFW. Yet despite these various techniques economic losses continued to mount, primarily from eaten and/or wounded fish being unsuitable for sale. Given that aquaculture facilities are ideal feeding sites for a variety of predators, the same tactics which work on one predator don’t necessarily work on others—this variety of pest bird species has proven to be the most difficult to manage.
Rushing Waters Fisheries was able to significantly reduce the economic damage caused by bird predation by working with Migratory Bird Management to install a new technology solution: the Agrilaser Autonomic. Specifically designed for the agriculture/agri-processing industries, the Agrilaser Autonomic is a fully automated bird repelling system, providing continuous bird repelling capability across long distances (up to 2,500 meters) and wide areas (up to 3,000 acres).
“We were a bit skeptical since we had tried just about everything else you can imagine,” said Peter Fritsch, President of Rushing Waters Fisheries, “But honestly it works—it’s hard to believe it works as well as it does.”
The Agrilaser Autonomic is a nonlethal and environmentally-friendly solution to pest bird predation challenges, all while maintaining safety for both humans and birds. While most fishery operations have implemented deterrent methods that are most suitable during daylight hours, the Agrilaser Automatic is adept at ensuring that predation is effectively and continuously mitigated, especially during dawn, dust, and nighttime hours. Furthermore, because the Agrilaser Autonomic is a technology-based solution it is fully configurable to address unique on site challenges.
As Wisconsin fishery operations dive headfirst into another productive season it may be worthwhile to reflect on Rushing Waters Fisheries’ experience of evaluating previous methods and pursuing new tactics to address immediate and future challenges, which directly and positively impacted their economic performance.
Migratory Bird Management (MBM) is a Wisconsin-grown wildlife management company focused on protecting people and property from the hazards of pest birds. Since 1998 they’ve served over 400 commercial, industrial, public, and/or residential properties across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
If your fishery facility is experiencing economic damages as the result of pest bird predation contact Mike Michalski at 414-336-2382 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about MBM’s various solutions to addressing pest bird problems.
Published in the Fall 2018 edition, Volume 51 of the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association