In the Bay of Fundy, Atlantic sturgeon from endangered and threatened populations in the USA and Canada migrate through Minas Passage to enter and leave Minas Basin. A total of 132 sub-adult and adult Atlantic sturgeon were tagged in Minas Basin during the summers of 2010–2014 using pressure measuring, uniquely coded, acoustic transmitters with a four or eight year life span. The aim of this study was to examine spatial and seasonal distribution of sturgeon in Minas Passage during 2010–2014 and test the hypothesis that, when present, Atlantic sturgeon were evenly distributed from north to south across Minas Passage. This information is important as tidal energy extraction using in-stream, hydrokinetic turbines is planned for only the northern portion of Minas Passage. Electronic tracking data from a total of 740 sturgeon days over four years demonstrated that Atlantic sturgeon used the southern portion of Minas Passage significantly more than the northern portion. Sturgeon moved through Minas Passage at depths mostly between 15 and 45 m (n = 10,116; mean = 31.47 m; SD = 14.88). Sturgeon mean swimming depth was not significantly related to bottom depth and in deeper regions they swam pelagically. Sturgeon predominately migrated inward through Minas Passage during spring, and outward during late summer-autumn. Sturgeon were not observed in Minas Passage during winter 2012–2013 when monitoring receivers were present. This information will enable the estimation of encounters of Atlantic sturgeon with in-stream hydrokinetic turbines.
Atlantic Sturgeon Spatial and Temporal Distribution in Minas Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada, a Region of Future Tidal Energy Extraction
Title: Atlantic Sturgeon Spatial and Temporal Distribution in Minas Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada, a Region of Future Tidal Energy Extraction
July 06, 2016
Journal: Plos One
Publisher: Plos One
Stokesbury, M.; Logan-Chesney, L.; McLean, M.; Buhariwalla, C.; Redden, A.; Beardsall, J.; Broome, J.; Dadswell, M. (2016). Atlantic Sturgeon Spatial and Temporal Distribution in Minas Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada, a Region of Future Tidal Energy Extraction. Plos One, 11(7), 1-12.