Event Title

Session A2- Behaviour and passage success of fish using a vertical slot fishway in Quebec: case studies incorporating a single and multispecies approach

Presenter Information

Jason Thiem, Carleton University

Location

UMass Amherst

Start Date

27-6-2011 1:55 PM

End Date

27-6-2011 2:15 PM

Description

The freshwater spawning migrations of many species have been influenced by the development dams which create barriers to migration. Although fishways are commonly installed to reinstate passage at these sites, their success at passing target species often remains unknown. We conducted two field studies at a vertical slot fishway on the Richelieu River in Quebec during May and June 2010 to: 1) determine passage success of lake sturgeon at the fishway and, 2) examine the utility of this fishway as a model for a multispecies approach. An extensive Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) antenna array enabled us to quantify passage success, passage rates and determine the spatial location of individuals. In the first study, migratory lake sturgeon (n=107, 939-1625 mm TL) were captured, PIT tagged and released into the fishway. Sturgeon exhibited an ability to traverse the 70 m fishway quickly (minimum passage rate of 1.2 hrs), however, successful passage rates were variable 96.2-75.4 hrs from release) and only 30% successfully ascended. In the second study, 17 species comprising 492 individuals were captured in a fish trap, PIT tagged and released into the fishway. Passage efficiency was highly variable among species (range 0-100%), however >50% for seven of the species encountered (Atlantic slamon, carp, channel catfish, freshwater drum, smallmouth bass, walleye and white sucker). Passage rates were likewise highly variable both among and within species (e.g., 1.0-452.9 hrs for smallmouth bass, 2.4-237.5 hrs for shorthead redhorse). These results will be discussed in the context of balancing fishway design for priority species while maintaining diversity.

Comments

Jason Thiem is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. After graduating from the University of Canberra in Australia in 2002, Jason worked for six years as a fisheries ecologist in a provincial wildlife department and later at the University of Canberra. Core projects were related to threatened fish species conservation and included topics centered on large scale dispersal of hatchery-reared fish, environmental flows and creation and use by threatened species of artificial habitats in freshwater impoundments. Jason began his doctoral studies at Carleton in 2010 under the supervision of Dr Steven Cooke where he received a President's Doctoral Scholarship for his research focused on lake sturgeon fishway passage; linking behaviour, physiology and hydraulics.

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Jun 27th, 1:55 PM Jun 27th, 2:15 PM

Session A2- Behaviour and passage success of fish using a vertical slot fishway in Quebec: case studies incorporating a single and multispecies approach

UMass Amherst

The freshwater spawning migrations of many species have been influenced by the development dams which create barriers to migration. Although fishways are commonly installed to reinstate passage at these sites, their success at passing target species often remains unknown. We conducted two field studies at a vertical slot fishway on the Richelieu River in Quebec during May and June 2010 to: 1) determine passage success of lake sturgeon at the fishway and, 2) examine the utility of this fishway as a model for a multispecies approach. An extensive Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) antenna array enabled us to quantify passage success, passage rates and determine the spatial location of individuals. In the first study, migratory lake sturgeon (n=107, 939-1625 mm TL) were captured, PIT tagged and released into the fishway. Sturgeon exhibited an ability to traverse the 70 m fishway quickly (minimum passage rate of 1.2 hrs), however, successful passage rates were variable 96.2-75.4 hrs from release) and only 30% successfully ascended. In the second study, 17 species comprising 492 individuals were captured in a fish trap, PIT tagged and released into the fishway. Passage efficiency was highly variable among species (range 0-100%), however >50% for seven of the species encountered (Atlantic slamon, carp, channel catfish, freshwater drum, smallmouth bass, walleye and white sucker). Passage rates were likewise highly variable both among and within species (e.g., 1.0-452.9 hrs for smallmouth bass, 2.4-237.5 hrs for shorthead redhorse). These results will be discussed in the context of balancing fishway design for priority species while maintaining diversity.