Long‐term effect of a tidal, hydroelectric propeller turbine on the populations of three anadromous fish species

Journal Article

Title: Long‐term effect of a tidal, hydroelectric propeller turbine on the populations of three anadromous fish species
Publication Date:
August 01, 2018
Journal: Journal of Fish Biology
Volume: 93
Issue: 2
Pages: 192-206
Publisher: Wiley
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Citation

Dadswell, M.; Spares, A.; McIean, M.; Harris, P.; Rulifson, R. (2018). Long‐term effect of a tidal, hydroelectric propeller turbine on the populations of three anadromous fish species. Journal of Fish Biology, 93(2), 192-206.
Abstract: 

Tidal hydroelectric power has been proposed as one potential solution for sustainable energy sources. The first tidal turbine in North America began continuous operation in the Annapolis River estuary (44 degrees 45'N; 65 degrees 29'W) in June, 1985. The machine is an axial-flow, hydraulic-lift propeller turbine, a type known to cause fish mortality. Anadromous populations of American shad Alosa sapidissima, striped bass Morone saxatilis and Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus utilize the Annapolis River for spawning and other life history phases. After power generation commenced obvious turbine mortalities of these fishes began appearing downstream of the turbine. Assessments of the A. sapidissima adult spawning runs during 1981-1982 (pre-operation) and 1989-1996 (operational) indicated significant changes in population characteristics after power generation began. Adult length, mass, age and per cent repeat spawners declined and total instantaneous mortality (Z) increased from 0.30 to 0.55. The pre-turbine spawning runs had older fish with numerous adult cohorts whereas by 12 years after operation began runs consisted of younger fish with fewer adult cohorts. During 1972-1987 numerous studies indicated the Annapolis River had an important angling fishery for M. saxatilis, but detailed annual records kept by a fishing contest during 1983-1987 and an elite angler family during the period 1976-2008 demonstrated a rapid decline in the number of fish >4.0 kg after turbine operation began. Pre-turbine catch by the angling family of fish >4.0 kg accounted for 84.1% of total catch, but declined significantly to 39.6% of total catch from 1986-1999, and to none from 2000-2008. The existence of an A. oxyrinchus stock in the Annapolis River was unknown before turbine operation, but during 1985-2017, 21 mortalities were recovered by chance seaward of the turbine. Mechanical strike and cavitation mortalities consisted of juveniles, mature males and gravid and spent females of ages 10 to 53 years found during June to October, the period when this anadromous species returns to its natal river to spawn. The results of the long-term studies at Annapolis indicate managers should realize substantial risks exist for the fish resources of the world's oceans from deployment of instream propeller turbines.

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