CRI Electrofishing Online and Field Certification Program

Backpack and boat electrofishing training is a signature course delivered by CRI’s Training and Professional Development program this year and is recognized by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as an acceptable backpack electrofishing training course.

Course Overview

Electrofishing is a commonly used fish collection method in streams, rivers, and lakes.  Although not legislated in most provinces in Canada (except for BC), electrofishing training provides employers with evidence of due diligence and provides trainees with adequate knowledge of the risks and safety features of these machines.  We focus on backpack electrofishing training, but also have boat electrofishing training upon request.

Learning Objectives

  • What is electrofishing?
  • Why electrofish?
  • Electrical and electrofishing theory
  • Impacts of electrofishing
  • Electrofishing safety guidelines
  • Field procedures and techniques
  • Recommended standard operating procedures


This course is considered a ‘blended’ course – course materials are delivered via an online course and then all participants must complete a field practicum (half day for backpack, full day for boat and backpack).  The online materials are delivered using an online learning management system called Desire2Learn.  Participants must complete the online component (pass is 80% on final quizzes), a minimum of 48 hours before attending their designated field practicum.

Register well in advance of field training to ensure timely and sufficient access to the online materials before the field practicum.  Electrofishing certificate recipients should recertify within every 5 years to refresh their skills and update their certificate.

All participants must have first aid and CPR training to receive their electrofishing certificate, which can be completed after the field session.

If you are completing the "refresher" electrofishing training, you are only required to attend the practical field session.

The Canadian Rivers Institute is using the services of the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management (ForEM) and the College of Extended Learning to increase the quality and efficiency of program registration and delivery of this CRI Training and Professional Development program's signature course. ForEM is responsible for the registration process, client relations, and the delivery of courses. For enquiries specific to CRI’s 2017 spring/summer signature courses please call 453-4770 or email

Course Instructors

Dr. Michelle Gray, PhD, Canadian Rivers Institute and Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick. Michelle has almost 20 years of lab and field experience in aquatic ecotoxicology, monitoring, and assessment. Michelle developed the online electrofishing course in 2006 and continues to facilitate and instruct both the online and field components.  Michelle’s current research interests continue to look at novel and integrated tools to assess aquatic environmental health, and the utility of small-bodied fish species in monitoring by investigating their basic life history characteristics.

Mark Gautreau, BSc, Canadian Rivers Institute and Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick. Mark has been a fisheries technician/biologist with the New Brunswick Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (NBCFWRU) and Canadian Rivers Institute (CRI) for the past 20 years.  He is currently a senior research assistant with CRI’s Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study (MAES).  Mark will be responsible for the delivery of the field practicum component of the backpack and boat courses.

Kirk Roach, BSc, Senior Field Technician in the Watershed & Aquatics Research & Monitoring Lab, Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick. Kirk has been working as a Field Technician for over 13 years and has a broad range of field experience in aquatic, marine and terrestrial ecosystems across Canada.  Kirk will be responsible for the delivery of the Backpack electrofishing field practicum component of the course.

Online Course Fees

Backpack Electrofishing

Registrant Type Registration Fees
Professionals $500.00 
Students/NGOs/First Nations $375.00
Refresher $250.00

Boat Electrofishing

Registrant Type Registration Fee
Professionals $500.00
Students/NGOs/First Nations $375.00
Refresher $200.00

Backpack and Boat Electrofishing

Registrant Type Registration Fee
Professionals $800.00
Students/NGOs/First Nations $600.00


Course Schedule

Online course: Available May 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017

Field practicum dates: 

May. 29th, 9am-1pm
June. 26th, 
July. 24th, 9am-1pm
Aug. 28th, 9am-1pm

NOTE: Other dates may be added throughout the season based on demand (a minimum of 5 participants is needed to run a field practicum).