The lack of credible scientific data on the potential effects of instream tidal power is delaying the decision-making process on a technology that shows promise for reducing carbon emissions, and for which Canada could become a global leader in the production of infrastructure. It remains unclear if fishes that occupy Canada’s leading tidal energy test site will be negatively affected by turbine installations. Detection of effects on individuals are critical for listed endangered species (i.e. inner Bay of Fundy [iBoF] Atlantic Salmon) where the loss of one individual may have a negative impact on the population. Other more abundant fishes such as Alewife, Striped Bass and Atlantic Sturgeon need impacts evaluated at the population level, as losses of a few individuals are not likely to have a negative effect at the population level.
We used new, innovative Nova Scotian produced High Residency fish tracking technology from VEMCO to determine the spatial and temporal overlap, and interactions of Atlantic Salmon (two life-stages, smolts and kelts, Species At Risk Act [SARA] listed “endangered” iBoF population), Alewife, Striped Bass (COSEWIC designated “Endangered”; COSEWIC 2010) and Atlantic Sturgeon (COSEWIC designated “Threatened”; COSEWIC 2011), with the FORCE test site in Minas Passage.
The main objectives of this study, in stepwise order, were to:
1. Compare the detection efficiency of traditional acoustic tagging technology (coded 69 kHz) versus new HR technology (180 kHz) in Minas Passage where flows and acoustic noise are high;
2. Test and refine a surgical tag implantation procedure for Alewife, as we did not have prior knowledge of post-tagging survival;
3. Determine temporal movements of tagged fishes within the Minas Passage and FORCE test site area using new high residency acoustic tagging technology developed by a Nova Scotia company, VEMCO (Bedford, NS);
4. Assess potential risk of fish-turbine overlap at the FORCE test site