Initial mortality of radio-tagged Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) smolts following release downstream of a hydropower station
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- Koed, A., Jepsen, N., Aarestrup, K. et al. Hydrobiologia (2002) 483: 31. doi:10.1023/A:1021390403703
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The fate of radio-tagged hatchery-reared salmon smolts (Salmo salar L.) was investigated in the tailrace of a hydropower station in the Danish River Gudenaa during 2 years. Seventeen and 27 smolts were tagged and released in late May 1996 and during April 1999, respectively. Out of the total of 44 smolts, only two were recorded to leave the river and enter the estuary. In both years of study, electrofishing was used to sample tagged smolts. In 1996, these attempts were unsuccessful, while in 1999, 19 (70% of total) transmitters were retrieved in the stomachs of pikeperch (Stizostedion lucioperca (L.)) and pike (Esox lucius L.), and in grey heron (Ardea cinerea L.) nests. The present study demonstrates that the physical condition of the watershed, with respect to spawning and rearing, may not be the only crucial determining factors of the success of reintroduction of Atlantic salmon. Hydropower plants not only block the free movement of migratory fish, hence preventing the utilisation of spawning and rearing areas, but also form the basis of areas with increased mortality.