The ability to traverse barriers of high-velocity flow limits the distributions of many diadromous and other migratory fish species, yet very few data exist that quantify this ability. We provide a detailed analysis of sprint swimming ability of six migratory fish species (American shad (Alosa sapidissima), alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), striped bass (Morone saxatilis), walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), and white sucker (Catostomus commersoni)) against controlled water velocities of 1.5-4.5 m??s-1 in a large, open-channel flume. Performance was strictly voluntary: no coercive incentives were used to motivate fish to sprint. We used these data to generate models of maximum distance traversed, taking into account effects of flow velocity, body length, and temperature. Although the maximum distance traversed decreased with increasing velocity, the magnitude of this effect varied among species. Other covariate effects were likewise variable, with divergent effects of temperature and nonuniform length effects. These effects do not account for all of the variability in performance, however, and behavioral traits may account for observed interspecific differences. We propose the models be used to develop criteria for fish passage structures, culverts, and breached dams.
Additional Publication Details
Swimming performance of upstream migrant fishes in open-channel flow: A new approach to predicting passage through velocity barriers
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences