Can bait improve the efficiency of underwater video monitoring of fish in headwater streams? A case study from the Rondegat River, South Africa
The use of action cameras for underwater video sampling provides a non-harmful alternative for monitoring endangered and threatened fish populations in clear headwater streams. Here, we examine the use of baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) for the monitoring of vulnerable species in the clear headwater streams of the Cederberg Wilderness Area, South Africa. We tested whether baits (bread and Marmite™) increased the number of individuals recorded in comparison to un-baited BRUVS. Overall, baiting cameras increased the number of individuals recorded, with bread outperforming Marmite™. Numbers recorded varied notably among species and sites. We conclude that BRUVS are a useful monitoring tool, but caution that monitoring programmes should first
determine the effectiveness of a range of baits to attract each species expected at the study sites.
Keywords: action cameras, Baited Underwater Video Systems, BRUVS, freshwater fish, MaxN, monitoring