Evaluating the Direct Movement of Fishes Through the Welland Canal Using Acoustic Telemetry
The Welland Canal has been identified as a pathway for direct and indirect bi-directional movement of aquatic invasive species between Lake Ontario and the remaining Great Lakes. While substantial study is ongoing to examine the movement of AIS through the shipping vectors, no study to date has examined the direct movement of fishes through the Welland Canal. In 2011, we conducted a pilot study to determine the best methods to sample fishes in the Welland Canal. Hydroacoustics indicated that there are many organisms present in and around lock chambers. In 2012 and 2013, we conducted acoustic telemetry study to examine: (1) how fishes directly move between Lake Ontario and Erie through the Welland Canal; and, (2) how locks differentially facilitate fish movement between basins. In 2012, the movements of 79 tagged fishes were tracked using 21 acoustic receivers placed throughout the canal. A total of 100, 417 detections were collected between June 2012 and January 2013. In 2013, an additional 100 tagged fishes and 9 receivers will be added to the study. Multistate mark recapture models were used to describe the patterns of fish movement within the Welland Canal by estimating survival, detection, and transition probabilities. The results of 2012-2013, and their implications for developing effective management options will be discussed.