Temporal and spatial movement patterns of striped bass in the Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy
LE3 .A278 2013
Bachelor of Science
The Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage (5-6 km wide) is currently the site for in-stream tidal energy turbine testing, but it is also a passageway for many commercially and recreationally important migratory fish species. Among these are striped bass (Morone saxatilis), a recently listed endangered species. The objectives of this project were to determine the movement patterns of sub-adult and adult striped bass within the passage, and to assess the potential risk of interaction with tidal turbines. A total of 40 transmitter-tagged striped bass (20 adults and 20 sub-adults) were tracked using 29 bottom-moored VEMCO acoustic receivers. Two lines of receivers spanned the width of the Minas Passage and a third line spanned the turbine test area. All recovered receivers (n=27) logged valid detections, with the highest number of detections occurring in July. Of the 40 striped bass tagged, 25 were detected, with more adults detected (75%) than sub-adults (50%). Adult fish were detected at depths throughout the water column, while sub-adults were detected only in the top 25 m (above turbine height). Fifteen striped bass (mostly adults) were shown to move back and forth through the passage at a mean swimming speed of 2.35 ± 0.71 m/s. Fish were detected more often at night than during the day. Detection frequency was higher during neap tidal cycles than during spring tidal cycles and was negatively correlated with current speed. Slightly more detections were during ebb tides than during flood tides. Unexpectedly, individual striped bass were shown to make multiple crossings of the Minas Passage during summer. In addition, many passed through the turbine test site at depths that include turbine hub height. The ability of striped bass to detect and avoid tidal turbines when travelling at high speed remains unknown.
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