Efficacy of Single-Suture Incision Closures in Tagged Juvenile Chinook Salmon Exposed to Simulated Turbine Passage

Publication Date



chinook, dams, hydroelectric, hydroelectric dams, injuries, juvenile, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, salmon, salmonids, transponder, turbine passage

Journal or Book Title

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society


Reductions in the size of acoustic transmitters implanted in migrating juvenile salmonids have resulted in the use of a shorter incision-one that may warrant only a single suture for closure. However, it is not known whether a single suture will sufficiently hold the incision closed when fish are decompressed and when outward pressure is placed on the surgical site during turbine passage through hydroelectric dams. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of single-suture incision closures on five response variables in juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha that were subjected to simulated turbine passage. An acoustic transmitter (0.43 g in air) and a passive integrated transponder tag (0.10 g in air) were implanted in each fish; the 6-mm incisions were closed with either one suture or two sutures. After exposure to simulated turbine passage, none of the fish exhibited expulsion of transmitters. In addition, the percentage of fish with suture tearing, incision tearing, or mortal injury did not differ between treatments. Expulsion of viscera through the incision was higher among fish that received one suture (12%) than among fish that received two sutures (1%). The higher incidence of visceral expulsion through single-suture incisions warrants concern. Consequently, for cases in which tagged juvenile salmonids may be exposed to turbine passage, we do not recommend the use of one suture to close 6-mm incisions associated with acoustic transmitter implantation







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