Journal Article

Accuracy and precision of fish-count data from a “dual-frequency identification sonar” (DIDSON) imaging system

John A. Holmes, George M.W. Cronkite, Hermann J. Enzenhofer and Timothy J. Mulligan

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 3, pages 543-555
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Accuracy and precision of fish-count data from a “dual-frequency identification sonar” (DIDSON) imaging system

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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The reliability of sockeye-salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) count data collected by a dual-frequency, identification sonar (DIDSON) system is evaluated on the basis of comparisons with visual counts of unconstrained migrating salmon and visual counts of salmon constrained to passing through an enumeration fence. Regressions fitted to the DIDSON count data and the visual count data from the enumeration fence were statistically indistinguishable from a line with slope = 1.0 passing through the origin, which we interpret as agreement in both counts. In contrast, the regressions fitted to the DIDSON count data and the unconstrained visual count data had slopes that were significantly <1.0 (p < 0.001) and are consistent with an interpretation of systematic bias in these data. When counts of both unconstrained and constrained fish from the DIDSON system were ≥50 fish event−1, repeated counts of the DIDSON files were observed to produce the same counts 98–99% of the time, respectively, and based on the coefficient of variation, counts of individual passage events varied <3% on average. Therefore, the DIDSON count data exhibit high precision among different observers. As an enumeration fence provides a complete census of all fish passing through it, we conclude that fish-count data produced by the DIDSON imaging system are as accurate as visual counts of fish passing through an enumeration fence when counts range up to 932 fish event−1, the maximum count recorded during our study, regardless of the observer conducting the count. These conclusions should be applicable to typical riverine applications of the DIDSON system in which the bottom and surface boundaries are suitable for acoustic imaging, the migrating fish are adult salmon, and the transducer is carefully aimed so that the beams ensonify the area through which the salmon are migrating.

Keywords: aiming protocol; data quality; high-frequency identification mode; imaging sonar; reliability; salmon escapement; sockeye salmon; validation

Journal Article.  7332 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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