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Fish acoustic receiver network

Acoustic telemetry

In acoustic telemetry, the acoustic signals of transmitter tags can be detected by a network of receivers. Upon detection, the information of the unique ID-code of the transmitter is stored on the receiver together with an exact timing of the event. When applicable, data from incorporated sensors in the tags (e.g. temperature, pressure and acceleration) can be stored as well. The detection probability of the receivers can change substantially depending on the environment they are deployed, but on average a high probability (> 70 %) is achieved till 200 m.

Within the LifeWatch project, the aforementioned partners established the Permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network (PBARN). The PBARN currently (January 2019) consists of 160 permanently installed receivers in the Belgian part of the North Sea, the Schelde Estuary, Dijle, Rupel, Albert Canal and Meuse River. The coverage of PBARN allows tracking of fresh water, marine and diadromous (which migrate between freshwater and marine environments to complete their life cycle) fish in different environments. Since the start of the network in 2014, over 800 animals have been tagged, attributed to 16 species:


Data storage tags

In contrast to acoustic transmitters, data storage tags (DSTs) do not emit signals, but log and store environmental data (e.g. temperature and pressure). The advantage of this technique is that it does not rely on moored receivers. However, acoustic data storage tags are applied as well: these devices both emit acoustic signals to be detected by the PBARN and log environmental variables. Nonetheless, DSTs need to be retrieved to obtain the recorded data. Based on those data, the tagged fish its trajectory can be reconstructed. Hence, if you find a red object on a beach, please contact and get your reward!



From left to right: Mooring of an acoustic receiver (©VLIZ) - A V9 acoustic tag (Vemco) (©VLIZ) - A pop-off data storage tag (pDST) (©VLIZ) - An Acoustic Data Storage Tag (ADST) (©VLIZ)


The Permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network (PBARN)


Useful links


Most recent publications

  • Reubens, J.; Verhelst, P.; van der Knaap, I; Wydooghe, B.; Milotic, T.; Deneudt, K.; Hernandez, F.; Pauwels, I. (2019). The need for aquatic tracking networks: the permanent Belgian Acoustic Receiver Network. Animal Biotelemetry 7(2). (more)

  • Verhelst, P.; Bruneel, S.; Reubens, J.; Coeck, J.; Goethals, P.; Oldoni, D.; Moens, T.; Mouton, A. (2018). Selective tidal stream transport in silver European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) – Migration behaviour in a dynamic estuary. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 213: 260-268. (more)

  • Verhelst, P.; Baeyens, R.; Reubens, J.; Benitez, J.-P.; Coeck, J.; Goethals, P.L.M.; Ovidio, M.; Vergeynst, J.; Moens, T.; Mouton, A.M. (2018). European silver eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) migration behaviour in a highly regulated shipping canal. Fish. Res. 206: 176-184. (more)

  • Verhelst, P.; Buysse, D.; Reubens, J.; Pauwels, I.; Aelterman, B.; Van Hoey, S.; Goethals, P.; Coeck, J.; Moens, T.; Mouton, A.M. (2018). Downstream migration of European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) in an anthropogenically regulated freshwater system: Implications for management. Fish. Res. 199: 252-262. (more)

  • Verhelst, P.; Reubens, J.; Pauwels, I.; Buysse, D.; Aelterman, B.; Van Hoey, S.; Goethals, P.; Moens, T.; Coeck, J.; Mouton, A. (2018). Movement behaviour of large female yellow European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) in a freshwater polder area. Ecol. Freshw. Fish. 27(1): 471-480. (more)

  • Verhelst, P.; De Meyer, J.; Reubens, J.; Coeck, J.; Goethals, P.; Moens, T.; Mouton, A.M. (2018). Unimodal head-width distribution of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) from the Zeeschelde does not support disruptive selection. PeerJ 6: e5773. (more)

  • Bruneel, S.; Gobeyn, S.; Verhelst, P.; Reubens, J.; Moens, T.; Goethals, P. (2018). Implications of movement for species distribution models - rethinking environmental data tools. Sci. Total Environ. 628-629: 893-905. (more)

  • Reubens, J.; Verhelst, P.; van der Knaap, I; Deneudt, K.; Moens, T.; Hernandez, F. (2018). Environmental factors influence the detection probability in acoustic telemetry in a marine environment: results from a new setup. Hydrobiologia Online: 1–14. (more)