The behaviour of returning Salmo salar (Linnaeus, 1758) approaching, and attempting to pass low-head weirs remains relatively unknown. A radio telemetry array was created at a low-head weir to enable the behaviour of S. salar (n = 120) to be observed as they approached and attempted to pass the barrier. The majority of fish successfully passed the barrier on their first or second attempt, some individuals required 11 attempts prior to successful passage occurring. Mean delay at the barrier per fish was 47.8 h (±SD 132.0 h), range 15 min to 31 days. Passage success on a fish’s initial attempt was significantly predicted by the amount of searching a fish undertook, fork length, and fat content. Fish were more likely to have a successful first passage attempt if it was smaller with a low fat content and exerted a greater effort in searching for a passage channel. Small-scale barriers cause delays and increased energy expenditure in migrating fish. Barriers may be creating an anthropogenic selection pressure for traits which enable passage success. The impact of a delay at a barrier and increased energy expenditure on reproduction and gonad development remains unknown but is likely to be negatively impacted by instream anthropogenic structures.
Hydrobiologia – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 6, 2017
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