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Table 1. Fish Species with High and Low Potential for Retaining Gastrically Inserted Transmitters as Adapted from Nielsen (1992)
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doere18
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POINTS OF CONTACT - doere180015
ERDC TN-DOER-E18
February 2005
CAPITAL INVESTMENT:
Research goals can best be achieved only after careful
consideration is given to study design.  However, the initial investment in equipment is
frequently cited as a limiting factor when designing a study. Manual tracking may have the least
capital cost when compared to a fully automated tracking system; however, when factoring in the
cost of manpower for manual tracking, fully automated systems may actually be the better value.
The duration of the study is often a key factor in the optimal type of system deployed.
The minimal equipment necessary for manual tracking would be tags, a hydrophone, and a
receiver.  Scanning receivers averaged $2000 to $3000 for those models reviewed. Omni-
directional and directional hydrophones typically average $350 and $600 per unit, respectively.
Major expenses are incurred in the purchase of radio and acoustic transmitters, whose cost
ranged from $150 to $300 each. Some manufacturers have combined radio and sonic transmitters
for as much as $450 per unit. These transmitters are typically not recovered and are considered
expendable.
For fully automated systems, scanning receivers with datalogging functions and the capability of
monitoring both acoustic and radio frequencies typically costs $8,000 each. Wireless hydro-
phones average from $4,500 to $5,000 per unit. Wired hydrophones generally cost less (<$750)
but will typically require more deployment time, especially if bottom­moored. The decreased
cost of field personnel may offset the higher costs associated with the initial purchase of wireless
hydrophones. Transmitter prices varied based on operational life and other features. One
example is a coded acoustic transmitter (76.8 kHz) with an operational life of 92 days at a 5-second
burst rate that costs $275 per transmitter. Therefore based on tagging 100 fishes during an
andromous fish migration study, at $300 per tag, the transmitter investment alone would be
$30,000.  Depending on the system (wired vs. wireless monitoring) costs associated with
additional hardware requirements can be substantial including wireless hydrophone antennas
($400 per unit); remote terminal control options ($921 each); ultrasonic up-converters ($902
each); directional baffles ($55 each); mounting brackets ($220 each); float assembly ($110 each);
marine batteries to power shore-based stations; and anchors, chain, stainless steel cable, and
other expendables.
CONCLUSION:  As discussed above, there are obvious financial, design and logistical
considerations in telemetry research. A variety of instruments and techniques are available for
monitoring freshwater and marine fishes. Selecting the proper equipment and establishing clear
and concise research objectives are critical to the success of any monitoring effort. Consideration
must be given to the species to be studied, its environment, and the type of data needed to meet
research goals. This in turn will factor prominently in the type and size of transmitter selected
and subsequently in the type of receivers and hydrophones necessary, as well as the appropriate
deployment strategy. Flexibility of the system along with a capability to upgrade components to
accommodate multiple projects over a span of years should also be considered.
TELEMETRY EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS: As an aid to the reader, web site addresses of
telemetry gear manufacturers mentioned in this technical note are given below. Although the list
is not exhaustive, it does reflect some of the leading companies in telemetry equipment
manufacturing including Advanced Telemetry Systems (www.atstrack.com); AVM Instrument
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