An area has been designated for demonstrating the utility of marine hydrokinetic turbines in Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy. Marine renewable energy may be useful for the transition from carbon-based energy sources, but there is concern for the safety of fish that might encounter turbines. Acoustic receivers that detect signals from acoustically tagged fish that pass through the tidal demonstration area and the detection efficiency of tag signals might be used to estimate the likelihood of fish encountering marine hydrokinetic turbines. The method requires that tagged fish passing through the development area will be reliably detected by a receiver array. The present research tests the reliability with which passing tags are detected by suspending tags beneath GPS-tracked drifters. Drifters carrying high residency Innovasea tags that transmitted every 2 s were usually detected by the receiver array even in fast currents during spring tides but pulse-position modulation tags were inadequate. Sometimes very few high residency tag signals were detected when fast tidal currents swept a drifter through the receiver array, so increasing the transmission interval degrades performance at the tidal energy development area. High residency tags suspended close to the sea surface were slightly less likely to be detected if they passed by during calm conditions. Previously measured detection efficiencies were found to slightly overestimate the chances of a high residency tag carried by a drifter being detected as it passed by a receiver. This works elucidates the effectiveness with which acoustically tagged fish are detected in fast, highly turbulent tidal currents and informs the application of detection efficiency measurements to calculate the probability that fish encounter a marine hydrokinetic turbine.