Trap and Transport of large American eels in Upper St. Lawrence River – Implications for Turbine Mortality Mitigation

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 1:50 PM
207 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
David Stanley , Ontario Power Generation, Niagara on the Lake, ON, Canada
Guy Verreault , Ministere du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs, Riviere-du-Loup, QC, Canada
Alastair Mathers , ?, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Picton, ON, Canada
Pierre Dumont , ?, Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement de la Faune et des Parcs, Longueuil, QC, Canada
Greg Pope , Ontario Power Generation, Niagara on the Lake, ON, Canada
Trap and transport (T&T) of American eels has proven to be an effective way to avoid turbine mortality at generating stations on the St. Lawrence River. Original plans specified migrating silver eels be captured and transported, however, large yellow eels (length > 800mm) were substituted due to difficulty in capturing silver eels.  T&T of large yellow eels has proven successful as within 5 years of transport, large yellow eels mature and migrate successfully down the St. Lawrence River.

Based on morphometric characteristics and silvering indices there are no differences between wild migrants and transported silver eels captured in the Quebec fishery.  Evaluation of migration rates between transported and reference silver eels show that after 3 years there is no difference in the overall migration rate. While some differences exist between wild migrating and T&T eels, overall migrating T&T eels had a normal rate of gonadal maturation and similar body fat content as wild migrants.

A criticism of T&T is the inability to capture and transport large numbers of yellow eels.  Currently, up to 2200 large yellow eels can be captured per year by commercial fishers in Ontario waters of the upper St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.