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Performance of a pool-and-weir fish pass for small bottom-dwelling freshwater fish species in a regulated lowland river

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image of Animal Biology

Although small benthic freshwater fish species are an important biological component of fish assemblages and free instream movement is indispensable for their survival, they are often neglected in fish pass performance studies. In this study, a capture-mark-recapture approach was used to assess whether small bottom-dwelling species, including gudgeon (Gobio gobio), stone loach (Barbatula barbatula), spined loach (Cobitis taenia) and bullhead (Cottus gobio), were able to cross a pool-and-weir fish pass in a regulated lowland river. Some tagged individuals of stone loach (18%), gudgeon (7%) and spined loach (2%) managed to successfully ascend the fish pass under study, despite the fact that water velocity levels in the different overflows of the facility (between 0.55-1.22 m/s) exceeded the critical swimming speed of all three species. Although this suggests that a pool-and-weir fish pass is a able to facilitate upstream movement of some small benthic species in a regulated river, more detailed research incorporating advanced tagging and retrieving techniques is necessary.

Affiliations: 1: University of Antwerp, Department of Biology, CDE Campus, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium


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