Using Carbon Dioxide in Fisheries and Aquatic Invasive Species Management

By Hilary B. Treanor, Andrew M. Ray, Megan Layhee, Barnaby J. Watten, Jackson A. Gross, Robert E. Gresswell, and Molly A. H. Webb


To restore native fish populations, fisheries programs often depend on active removal of aquatic invasive species. Chemical removal can be an effective method of eliminating aquatic invasive species, but chemicals can induce mortality in nontarget organisms and persist in the environment. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an emerging alternative to traditional chemical control agents because it has been demonstrated to be toxic to fish, but is naturally occurring and readily neutralized. In addition, CO2 is a commercially available gas, is highly soluble, and has high absorption efficiency. When these characteristics are paired with advances in modern, large-scale gas delivery technologies, opportunities to use CO2 in natural or artificial (e.g., canals) waters to manage fish become increasingly feasible. Our objective is to describe the history of CO2 use in fisheries and outline potential future applications of CO2 to suppress and manipulate aquatic species in field and aquaculture settings.

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