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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 59(4)

Can a low-gradient vertical-slot fishway provide passage for a lowland river fish community?

Ivor G. Stuart A B E, Brenton P. Zampatti C, Lee J. Baumgartner D

A Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Post Office Box 137, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.
B Present address: Kingfisher Research, 20 Chapman Street, Diamond Creek, Vic. 3089, Australia.
C Inland Waters Program, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Post Office Box 120, Henley Beach, SA 5022, Australia.
D New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Post Office Box 182, Narrandera, NSW 2700, Australia.
E Corresponding author. Email: ivor.stuart@gmail.com
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Fishways are commonly used to restore native fish movements in regulated rivers. In the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia, 14 fishways are to be built by 2011 to improve passage along 2225 km of the river. The first of these fishways, constructed in 2003, is a vertical-slot design with low water velocities (0.98–1.4 m s–1) and turbulence (average 42 W m–3). This design was selected to provide passage for individuals between 20 and 1000 mm long. To determine passage success, trapping and a remote automated passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag reading system was used from October 2003 to February 2006. In 57 24-h samples at the exit (upstream end) and entrance (downstream end), 13 species and 30 409 fish were collected at a maximum rate of 4415 fish per day. Fish between 31 and 1030 mm successfully ascended the fishway. However, significantly smaller (<31 mm) fish and small-bodied (<50 mm) carp gudgeons (Hypseleotris spp.), a species previously considered non-migratory, were sampled downstream from the entrance of the fishway. The remote PIT tag reading system revealed that 81% of native golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) and 87% of non-native common carp (Cyprinus carpio) successfully ascended the fishway. These data will help maximise the efficiency of future fishways against a series of pre-determined performance criteria.

Keywords: Australia, common carp, golden perch, migration, Murray River, pasive integrated transponder tag, potamodromous.

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