Temporal Patterns in Minas Basin Intertidal Weir Fish Catches and Presence of Harbour Porpoise during April - August 2013

Report

Title: Temporal Patterns in Minas Basin Intertidal Weir Fish Catches and Presence of Harbour Porpoise during April - August 2013
Publication Date:
July 01, 2014
Document Number: 120
Pages: 97
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Citation

Baker, M.; Reed, M.; Redden, A. (2014). Temporal Patterns in Minas Basin Intertidal Weir Fish Catches and Presence of Harbour Porpoise during April - August 2013. Report by Acadia University and Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE). pp 97.
Abstract: 

The Bay of Fundy is recognized as an area of high ecological importance and is home to a diverse fish assemblage, including commercially and recreationally significant fishes, and many other marine species. The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE), a leading test center for tidal energy research and development, is currently assessing the potential for tidal energy development in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage. Since 2009, FORCE’s Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program has utilized a variety of strategies to gain a better understanding of fish presence and activity within and near the turbine test area. This project examines the use of commercial intertidal weirs along the shores of Minas Basin to address identified information gaps within the EEM program, in particular the seasonal abundance and presence of fishes that occur in Minas Basin and Minas Passage. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the temporal and environmental (e.g. temp, tide height) patterns in the presence and abundance of resident and migratory fishes, as observed in the fish catches at two Minas Basin intertidal weirs during April – August 2013. Sampling was conducted near weekly during daytime low tides from weirs in Bramber, NS and Five Islands, NS. Diel patterns were examined during two one-week periods during late July and early August at the Bramber site. Weir catches included 24 fish species at Bramber and 22 species at Five Islands. Pelagic fishes, especially those of the Clupeidae family, dominated the catches at both weirs. Abundance and species richness varied seasonally, and reflected the movement and spawning patterns of migratory fishes. Day/night sampling was conducted on 14 consecutive low tides during 12-19 July at Bramber. Considerable variation in abundance was observed, with greater fish captures during low tides at dusk/night. Harbour porpoise presence near intertidal weirs was low during summer, especially on the north shore; their absence may reflect their preference for deeper and cooler waters. Overall, the study showed that intertidal weirs are useful sampling platforms for assessing general patterns in the presence and abundance of fishes in Minas Basin and can strengthen on-going environmental monitoring near tidal energy development sites. Monitoring of an intertidal weir located within Minas Passage would better identify seasonal patterns in the movement of fishes closer to the FORCE test site.

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