Research - In the Field hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 Capelin, Killers and Salmon <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">The mid-summer finally finds out crew in Newfoundland and Labrador with some good weather. Eric and Heather have been downloading the receiver array in the Strait of Belle Isle and the salmon have begun to pass through.  They have also been fishing the fyke net, though have not caught any post-smolts yet. Lots of capelin and a lone adult salmon have been caught and released on their way however. They are now out on the big boats with the live-trawl in the strait itself, and we eagerly wait to hear details of what they find. </div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">They did have a few visitors in the form of killer whales over the past few days. While the Orcas frequent inshore waters on the Pacific Coast, out here they tend to stay offshore, except for some areas of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Strait of Belle Isle. <br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="750" daid="17832813" src='//' height="562" border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Back in New Brunswick, ASF staff were at the Department of Fisheries and Ocean's Mactaquac Biodiversity Facility taking some samples from migrating salmon for the fish health project. These fish were caught by DFO as they reach the Mactaquac Dam, are sorted and measured and then trucked beyond the dam to continue on their way. We're taking a few small tissue samples to compare disease agent presence between stocks that have to pass through aquaculture areas and those that don't. The sampled fish are anesthetized before hand and are released with the rest of the fish afterwards. The day went well and we'll be back late this week to finish the sampling. Unfortunately, the numbers returning to the Saint John River so far this year are not too high.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="750" daid="17832814" src='//' height="421" border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></div><p class="plain"></p> Graham 2018-07-18T17:12:30-07:00 Capelin, Killers and Salmon What the Fyke? It's the beginning of July and ASF biologist Eric Brunsdon and Dalhousie University summer student Heather Perry are searching for post smolt at the Strait of Belle Isle. Post smolt are juvenile salmon on their first ocean migration and ASF's research has shown that almost all of them coming from Gulf of St. Lawrence rivers pass through the Strait of Belle Isle. <div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Capturing post smolt will give valuable information about their size and condition, and by eventually tagging these growing young salmon, ASF will be able to expand the reach of our tracking program further into the Labrador Sea. <br><br>Eric and Heather began the week by setting up a fyke net off L'Anse-Amour on the Labrador side of the Strait of Belle Isle. A fyke net is a fixed trap with hoops and long wings that gently captures fish moving along the coast. It's shaped so fish that have entered the fyke net are discouraged from leaving. The net will be checked at least once a day for post-smolts and to release any by-catch. The fish are not harmed by becoming trapped in the net. It took a long day to site and set it up, but it is now fishing well.<br><img width="700" daid="17823589" src='//' height="525" border="0"><br><br>They are also checking on and downloading the receiver array recently deployed across the strait. The fyke net and data downloads will serve to alert them that post-smolts are passing through the strait. They will then begin live-trawling using local fishers to capture the fish as they pass the strait. Meanwhile, back at the office, ASF Biologist Jason Daniels is using the early data from the receivers in the Miramichi River and sea-surface temperature data to predict when the post-smolts will arrive where Eric and Heather are. So far, it looks like they are ahead of the game and are well-prepared for the arrival of post-smolts from southern Gulf of St. Lawrence rivers. We'll keep in contact with the crew in Labrador for any updates, no salmon so far, but they have seen some whales and a few icebergs!<br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br><p class="plain"></p></div> Graham 2018-07-04T09:32:58-07:00 What the Fyke? SoBI It. <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">As the end of June nears, salmon smolts from Gulf of St. Lawrence rivers are getting closer to the Strait of Belle Isle (SoBI). For many years, ASF has deployed lines of receivers across the strait to detect tagged smolt as they pass. Last week, ASF's Vice President of Research Jon Carr and Newfoundland and Labrador program director Don Ivany laid out the receivers with the help of lobster fishermen Loomis Way. There are two lines to increase the chances of detection and each line consists of receivers placed about 600m apart. The southern line also has sentinel tags, the same as those placed inside out migrating smolt, fixed in place between some receivers. These sentinel tags allow us to gauge the detection probability, or effectiveness of the line. While tags can be heard by receivers several hundred meters away in optimal conditions, conditions in the ocean are usually less than ideal. This allows us to calculate how many fish we may have missed and adjust our estimates accordingly.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="700" daid="17820449" src='//' height="525" border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Once Jon Carr finished deploying gear, he went over to the Labrador side to meet up with ASF Biologist Eric Brunsdon and Dalhousie student Heather Perry to help with preparations for their activities. They'll be conducting some surveys of the passing smolts using live trawl and fyke nets. Their attempts will help guide our activities over the next few years and hopefully with emerging technologies to extend our tracking capabilities into the North Atlantic. We look forward to more updates and photos from our staff in the field in the coming weeks.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Happy Canada Day.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></div><p class="plain"></p> Graham 2018-06-27T07:36:48-07:00 SoBI It. Downloads from Upstream <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">This week is all about data capture. Mike and Eric are waiting on the weather to visit Miramichi receiver installations to download some and retrieve others. The smolts have passed by now and are on their way to the Strait of Belle Isle. At the strait, Don Ivany and a local fisher are gearing up to get the array into the water there to be ready for the smolts' passing. Some receivers will be left in Miramichi to monitor returning adults.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="400" daid="17815268" src='//' border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br>Michael, our summer student from Dalhousie University, and I spent a long day yesterday around both branches of the Miramichi. We were collecting receivers we had placed there a month ago to detect passing smolts. While some receivers further downstream are left in, these are removed much earlier. Since the smolts have passed and the adults are detected eslewhere, we remove these receivers to make sure we get the data and so that they are out of the way of any anglers in those sections.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Eric and Heather, our other Dalhousie University summer student, will be headed to Newfoundland on the weekend to begin our expanded activites there. They'll be looking to capture post-smolts to collect information from them before releasing them on their way. They'll also be sampling for a fish health program, looking at the presence of certain pathogens from Gulf of St. Lawrence salmon. They'll be gone for a few weeks and working hard with local fishers, I'm sure they'll take the some time here and there to enjoy the local scenery.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></div><p class="plain"></p> Graham 2018-06-19T07:58:35-07:00 Downloads from Upstream Live Trapping Smolt at Sea <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">by Graham Chafe, ASF Biologist</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">In about three weeks, ASF Biologist <b>Eric Brunsdon</b> and Dalhousie University student <b>Heather Perry</b> will be packing the truck and skiff and heading towards Newfoundland and Labrador. They'll be undertaking a reconnaissance mission in the <b>Strait of Belle Isle</b> for a few weeks. They'll be in the same area as our receiver array, and will check on it while they are there.</div><div class="plain"> </div><div class="plain">Tagging technology is incredible right now, but we can't tag a smolt leaving a river and track it for long enough to cover the portion of the migration from post-smolt to returning adult, either grilse or multi-winter. Technology is improving though, and we plan to be able to maximize the opportunity when it arises.</div><div class="plain"> </div><div class="plain">In order to tag fish up there, we'll have to catch fish up there. To that end, Eric and Heather, with the help of a crew of local fishers, will be using a trawl net specially designed to keep fish alive and safe in the cod end. We tested that out on Passamaquoddy Bay a few weeks ago, you can see a video on ASF's Facebook page.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="700" daid="17808928" src='//' border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><i>Inspecting a trap net that will be used in Strait of Belle Isle. Photo Graham Chafe/ASF</i></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">On Monday of this week, we went out on a Huntsman Marine Science Centre boat to test out the deployment of a large fyke net. </div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="700" daid="17808929" src='//' border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><i>Deploying a floating trap net experimentally in Passamaquoddy Bay. Photo: Graham Chafe/ASF</i></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">This type of net is fixed in place near shore. Fish that are moving parallel to the shore encounter a lead net that diverts them to the trap portion of the net. Widely used in both scientific and small scale food fishing, fyke nets are easy to deploy and tend when they are of smaller size. Ours is quite large, Heather and Eric have their work cut out for them. They'll be checking the net one or more times a day and taking measurements and biological information from any salmon that are caught before releasing them on their way.</div><div class="plain"> </div><div class="plain">Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</div><div class="plain"> </div><p class="plain"></p> Atlantic Salmon Federation 2018-06-06T05:20:19-07:00 Live Trapping Smolt at Sea Keep Calm and Tag On <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">The bulk of the big rush of fieldwork is over, with some tasks remaining. All the fish have been tagged save for the smolts on the Cascapedia, which should happen next week. The receivers are out, except for the Strait of Belle Isle lines, due to hit the water in mid-June. Most of us will soon settle in to our summer schedule which consists of a healthy mix of office and field work.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">The kelts were angled in order to insert the acoustic tags, and the smolts trapped with smoltwheels. Here are the numbers:</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div align="center" class="plain"><img width="500" daid="17805429" src='//' height="172" border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"> We're keeping an eye on the downstream passage at St. George on the Magaguadavic River, where we're seeing a few salmon daily that probably leaked out of hatcheries. We've also seen a few adult alewife, the ones that ascended early and are on their way out already. To date, we've also counted three small chain pickerel, an invasive species in the system that have taken hold.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="400" daid="17803309" src='//' height="711" border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">The upstream passage on the same system is busy with alewife on their way to spawn in the river. While we don't count them, nor are there facilities to do so, the run last year seemed larger than usual. It definitely was a bigger year for the neighbouring St. Croix River and early indications for 2018 seem to suggest the same. The photo above shows a few alewife climbing from pool to pool on the fish ladder. The pools are full of them and they move mostly in sunny weather. There was at least one larger predator after them just below the ladder the other day. Although we didn't see it directly, it did create a very large wake as it scattered the alewife all over the place. Seals have occasionally been seen there before, but this was a fish, perhaps a striped bass.</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><img width="400" daid="17803310" src='//' height="711" border="0"></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><i> Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></div><p class="plain"></p> Graham 2018-05-30T05:10:16-07:00 Keep Calm and Tag On Canoes, Waders and Automobiles <p class="plain">Tagging efforts continued over the long weekend on three Rivers. Eric and Michael were up on the Restigouche tagging kelts. Thanks to David Leblanc, the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council and all the volunteer anglers for making it a success. They didn't manage to tag all the fish we had planned, but considering the late season and tricky conditions, it went very well. Meanwhile, Jason and I were on the Northwest Miramichi after smolts. The run wasn't too strong while we were there so Eric and Michael stopped by on the way home and finished up for us so we could head to the Southwest Miramichi for another batch of tagging. The Miramichi Salmon Association and Kelsey McGee get a big thanks for setting up and operating the smolt wheel and fishing it every day for us.  Thanks also goes to Debbie Norton and the Upper Oxbow camp for supporting us while we were there. We enjoyed our stay and met several anglers, of both the salmon and bass groups who were all enjoying a great weekend.</p><p class="plain"><br></p><p class="plain"><img width="750" daid="17798629" src='//' height="562" border="0"></p><p class="plain"><br> Between the two branches of the Miramichi, Jason and I had some receivers to deploy further upstream than our main groups of equipment. Thanks to The Ledges, Vince Swayze, Salmon Brook Lodge and Black Brook Lodge for allowing us to use their camps and pools for this work. We'll be back in a few weeks, after the smolt run, to collect them and make sure they're out of the way of the anglers when the brights are in.<br> <br> Jason and I also tagged 80 smolt at Rocky Brook camp, who support us every year with this work. It's a great place to go for this as the smolt wheel is right there and they give us a spot to tag indoors when it is raining. This little Pine Siskin came for to watch the proceedings and eventually had to be escorted outside. After tagging the fish in two days, we found a little time on the way home to make a couple of quick hikes through the beautiful country in that area.<br> <br> Only the Restigouche and Grand Cascapedia River smolts left to tag this season. That should happen over the next couple of weeks and then we're working more locally for a while before mid-season download of the receivers begin.<br> <br> <i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i></p> Graham 2018-05-23T16:18:53-07:00 Canoes, Waders and Automobiles Seven Staff, Four Rivers, Three Trucks, One day <p class="plain">The work continues this week with just about everything happening at once. Typically, we deploy receivers and tag kelts early on and then work with the smolts a week or two later. Not in 2018 however. The second half of this week will see all three activities on the same day.<br><br><img width="400" daid="17792507" src='//' height="711" size="400" border="0"><br><br>Eric and Michael, a summer student from Dalhousie, are tagging kelts on the Restigouche today and tomorrow. Conditions have been far from perfect and it has been delayed much later than usual but looks to be improving now. Mike was deploying the receiver array in the outer bay of Miramichi yesterday and will be heading up to the Baie des Chaleurs as soon as sea conditions permit. Meanwhile Ellen and Heather, another summer student from Dalhousie, were taking care of monitoring the downtream passage on the Magaguadavic River at the St. George Dam and beginning the weekly surveys of the Chamcook watershed.</p><p class="plain"><br></p><p class="plain">Jason and I have been up and down both branches of the Miramichi, placing a few last receivers in upstream spots. We'll be tagging smolt on the Northwest for the next two days and expect to be doing the same on the Main Southwest for the rest of the long weekend. A big thanks to Upper Oxbow Adventures and Rocky Brook camp for all the help and accomodation. Both are great spots from which to start any day on the river. <br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-05-17T04:21:51-07:00 Seven Staff, Four Rivers, Three Trucks, One day Tagging Trials and Deployments <p class="plain">Water conditions continue to hamper our kelt tagging efforts, but some progress is being made. We had to postpone the Restigouche kelt tagging until further notice. The river had dropped some, but not enough and then it climbed again before holding steady. The water is turbid and cold, making for terrible angling from all the reports we've received. We'll plan again, but will wait for conditions to improve significantly.<br><br><img width="700" daid="17787530" src='//' height="393" border="0"><br><br>Meanwhile, the Miramichi is full of activity today. ASF biologist Eric and summer student Heather, from Dalhousie, are at Red Bank tagging kelts, earlier today they had three done. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow they will have another 22. Miramichi Salmon Association staff are a big part of the project, helping with tagging and organizing anglers as well as running the boat to collect fish from anglers. Fingers crossed it goes well despite less than optimal conditions.<br><br>ASF staff Jason and Mike were also on the Miramichi today. They deployed the receivers from Loggieville up to the forks and up each main branch of the river. This is the equipment that will 'listen' for and record the passing tags in kelts and smolts. Conditions on Miramichi Bay and Chaleur Bay are not suitable yet for deployments there, but the trucks are loaded and the gear ready for the minute we can get out on those waters. It's been a slow start to field season this year, but with everything going on with rivers in New Brunswick, it is no wonder.<br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-05-10T10:56:36-07:00 Tagging Trials and Deployments Kelt Tagging Continues, But When? <p class="plain">After the successful kelt tagging on the Cascapedia River last week, we'd hoped to continue the trend on the Northwest Miramichi and Restigouche Rivers this week. Conditions and the weather have other plans however. We will still go, but the difficult part is deciding when to hit the rivers. Most of the ice has moved out, but water is still high and dirty, making for poor fishing in several areas and possibly unsafe conditions. <br><br><img width="400" daid="17782298" src='//' height="711" border="0"><br>As of today, we are planning to go Sunday and Monday to tag 25 kelts at Red Bank on the Northwest Miramichi. Rains tonight and tomorrow may change that, but fingers are crossed. The plans for the Restigouche are on hold until further notice. We may know more on Monday.<br><br>Anyone wishing to help us out with the angling for the kelts to be tagged can get in touch with me for the Restigouche at or Eric Brunsdon for the Miramichi at<br><br>Stay safe near the water, it isn't just the St. John river that is high and dangerous, at this time of year caution is needed around all waters.<br><br><i> Graham Chafe, ASF Research.<br><br></i><br><br></p> Graham 2018-05-03T09:25:12-07:00 Kelt Tagging Continues, But When? And It Begins... <p class="plain">This week marks the first tagging events of the 2018 season. Eric and Ellen went up to the Grand Cascapedia River a few days ago to acoustically tag kelts. This is the first year we've tagged kelts in that river and hope for some good results. This project is being undertaken with the Cascapedia River Society and with big help from anglers from the Gesgapegiag First Nation. The folks on the river clearly knew when and where the fish would be, they caught and tagged 17 on the first day and the last 6 on the second. It was Ellen's first bit of field work since starting at the ASF a couple of months ago, not a bad first trip!<br><br><img width="400" daid="17778384" src='//' border="0"><br><br>The tagged kelts will be recorded as they pass receivers that they placed in the river. Depending on ice conditions in the bay and when we can get the Chaleur line out, they will be recorded there as well. Fish destined to be alternate spawners are likely to cross the Strait of Belle Isle in early July and our receiver line there will be in place by then.It will be interesting to see how their timing compares to the nearby Restigouche River where we've been tagging black salmon for several years.</p><p class="plain"><br></p><p class="plain"><img width="400" daid="17778385" src='//' border="0"><br>Speaking of the Restigouche, we'll be tagging kelts there in about a week and a half, sometime between the 5th and 8th of May, and several days earlier on the Northwest Miramichi. The dates are completely subject to change according to river conditions of course. If you're interested in angling to help us out there, please send me an email at and I'll add you to the mail-out for either or both rivers.<br><br><i>Graham Cjafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-04-26T08:38:08-07:00 And It Begins... Go Go Gadget Trawl <p class="plain">In efforts to expand both our knowledge and reach in regards to migrating Atlantic salmon, we'll be headed up to the Strait of Belle Isle this summer for some interesting activities. We'll be investigating our ability to capture post-smolt as they move through the strait on their way to the North Atlantic. Any salmon captured will be have some measurements taken and samples of a few scales and a tiny bit of tissue. This will yield more knowledge about what conditions and changes these fish faced as they moved through the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Additionally, knowing the size and weights of the fish allow us to plan for future technologies for potential tagging opportunities when they present themselves. Currently we can't track fish much past that point, but in the future it may well be an option and we'd like to be ready.<br><br><img width="750" daid="17774777" src='//' height="421" size="-1" border="0"><br><br>The trawl itself has a live box, adapted from some friendly researchers south of the border, that will move fish into a chamber out of the push of the water and be well-protected. Once the box is lifted aboard, the fish remain in the water for sorting and measurements. They will be released on their way after a short time on the vessel.<br><br>We recently went out for a test run on Passamaquoddy Bay on a boat and with some staff from the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, NB. Everything went very well, from deployment, through trawling and to recovery of the net. We couldn't have asked for much more in terms of performance from the net and live box. We're looking forward to seeing post-smolts in Newfoundland and Labrador.<br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-04-17T09:40:19-07:00 Go Go Gadget Trawl Movie Night <p class="plain">Over the past two weeks the Atlantic Salmon Federation various Nova Scotia and New Brunswick universities has been hosting screenings of the documentary "Lost at Sea". The film was directed by Dierdre Brennan who also organized a Kickstarter campaign to get the film made.<br><br><img width="750" daid="17744852" src='//' height="562" size="-1" border="0"><br><br>With footage and interviews from across the Atlantic salmon's range, the film takes viewers on a tour of habitats and issues concerning the species and its migration. Clips of interviews with salmon researchers interspersed with beautiful scenic shots keep the viewer tuned in throughout the film. Our own Jon Carr and Graham Chafe make an appearance in the film while examining scale samples from the Magaguadavic River in New Brunswick.<br><br>Three screenings have been held so far in the Maritimes, at Acadia, St. Francis Xavier and Mount Allison Universities. Great questions and discussions followed each screening highlighting people's interest in Atlantic salmon and  conservation issues. Next week, on the 15th of March, it will be shown at Dalhousie University in Halifax. The film begins at 7:30pm.<br><br>Here is a link to the Facebook page for the movie:<br><br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-03-08T09:51:41-08:00 Movie Night Farewell Clement. <p class="plain">Ever year since 2012, ASF has hosted an intern from the Agrocampus Ouest near Rennes, France. From September to the end of January, a student lives in Saint Andrews and works with the ASF Research Department. This year, Clement Taron was our guest for five months. He was interested in fish in general and salmon specifically and so followed in the footsteps of Caroline, Marine and Alaia before him. He integrated well into our department and jumped right in to working with some of our data. He also enjoyed his time in Canada and traveled some within New Brunswick and Quebec. For some reason, all the interns from Agrocampus Ouest spend Christmas in New York City and Clement was no exception. Though the weather caused him a five day delay returning from New York, he was back at it in the beginning of January.<br><br><img width="700" daid="17722409" src='//' height="525" size="-1" border="0"><br><br>Clement was interested in the relationship between temperatures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and post-smolt migration. He used our own temperature data, we always deploy a temperature logger on our receiver lines, as well as sea-surface temperature from satellite equipment that is available. It was an opportunity for him to develop skills in data analysis and writing and will contribute to the greater understanding of salmon movements. <br><br>We've already had contact from another student from the same institute who is interested in a placement with ASF for next year. After all, field season 2018 is fast approaching and September will be here before we know it.<br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.<br><br></i></p> Graham 2018-02-05T11:39:28-08:00 Farewell Clement. Improving Passage <p class="plain">With dams all over the province, NB Power is an important player for fish passage. While we all want and need our electricity, the sourcing of that power has large effects on the environment. Hydro power, often touted as renewable, has a particularly obvious effect on migratory fish populations. Its hard enough swimming upstream, but when a dam is in the way it changes things completely. Fish ladders, trap and truck and fish lifts all exist in New Brunswick and have varying degrees of success.<br><br><img width="400" daid="17714016" src='//' height="225" border="0"><br><br>In an upcoming refit of the Milltown dam in St. Stephen, NB Power is planning to use newer technology for both upstream and downstream passage. The dam, the oldest continually running hydro plant in the country, will be outfitted with DIVE turbines from Germany that are apparently more fish friendly. However the real intent is for fish to use a new 'Hydroconnect' system. It is a double rotating hydropower screw in a large tube. It is kind of like two Archimedes screws, one inside the other and going in opposite directions to lift fish up or pass fish down. <br><br>While both the turbines and fish passage systems have been used in Europe, Milltown will be the first installations in North America. Good for NB Power for exploring the potential of new and emergent technology. It will take some tweaking and working with flows and timing  to figure it out, but if all goes well it will be an example for other dams in our area and beyond. If it doesn't work too well, the existing fish passage facilities will remain.<br><br>ASF staff and many others were at a stakeholder meeting yesterday, which was followed by one for the public in the evening. Several concerns were raised (will fish be able to find the Hydroconnect entrance amidst all the water in the tailrace for example) over the afternoon. I encourage anyone interested to attend other consultations and offer their input. Follow the links below for information on the turbines, the fish passage (the video is very helpful).<br><br>Turbines: <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain"></a><br>Fish passage: <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain"></a><br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Reseaarch.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-01-25T06:04:34-08:00 Improving Passage Great Ideas, Great People, and Great Beer <p class="plain">Great Ideas, Great People, and Great Beer</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">This week ASF staff attended the Atlantic Salmon Ecosystem Forum in Orono Maine. The two day event focused on the fresh and saltwater ecology of Atlantic salmon and the barriers that arise when restoring and conserving the species. “Are we moving the needle?” Was the theme of the conference and experts shared the shortcomings and the trials and tribulations experienced in projects focusing on habitat restoration, climate change, and freshwater and marine survival.</p><p class="plain"><br></p> <p class="plain">ASF Biologist Jason Daniels presented his newly published results on quantifying Striped Bass predation on Atlantic Salmon smolts within the Miramichi River. This paper has now been published in The Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and represents a novel technique in quantifying predation rates through acoustic technology. The journal article can be found in the link below.</p><p class="plain"><br></p> <p class="plain">The forum brought experts from the west and east coasts of North America to share ideas, projects, and the best methods for the future. There is still a long way to go in restoring Atlantic Salmon, but the enthusiasm of everyone attending and the amazing success stories shared shows that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <img width="600" daid="17710287" src='//' height="546" border="0"><br><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">You can find the article here:</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain"></a></div> Graham 2018-01-19T10:03:53-08:00 Great Ideas, Great People, and Great Beer Welcome Ellen <p class="plain"><img width="250" align="left" daid="17701064" src='//' style="margin: 15px 15px 15px 0px;float: left" size="250" border="0">As we head into the new year, the ASF Research Department is welcoming our newest addition. Ellen Mansfield began this week as Office Manager with our department. She comes to us from Southwest NB Service Commission where she was the Safety/Environmental Affairs staff for several years. Welcome to our team Ellen.<br><br><br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2018-01-10T11:48:00-08:00 Welcome Ellen Seeing Redd <p class="plain">At this time of the year, fewer people are out on the river, but the salmon remain. They have moved from the holding pools to spawning grounds and are busy working towards future generations. Also on the river are salmon biologists, conservationists and anglers who are looking to see the results of that activity. When salmon spawn, the female dig depressions in the gravel, called a redds, in which to deposit her eggs. The male moves alongside the female over the redd and expresses his milt while she deposits her eggs. Thus they are fertilized as they sink into the depression. She then covers over the redd so that the eggs are protected from many predators while they develop over the winter.<br><br><img width="550" alt="" daid="17658789" src='//' title="" height="387"><br><br>While the eggs are buried and hidden, the recently turned gravel is a giveaway to those who know what to look for (Lee is pointing to a redd in the photo). Many watershed associations, angling groups and biologists head out on the rivers around this time of year to count redds. They won't achieve exact number of eggs laid of course, typically only certain areas are surveyed, but it does give an idea of any given year's returns or useage of a reach compared to the past. It also provides eyes and ears on the rivers to look out for new obstructions or other impediments to migrating fish. The ASF's Geoff Giffin and Graham Chafe have recently been out with Lee Robinson of the Hammond River Angling Association counting redds on that river. I was there was just after a rise and fall in the water and redds were harder to spot as they had been re-silted and so didn't stand out as much. Geoff and the Hammond group covered a few kilometers of river and counted many redds, a good sign and always reassuring that spawning is continuing. <br><br>If you're interested, look to local watershed or angling groups to take part in a redd count, it is a great way to spend a late fall day wandering a river or stream and contributes to knowledge about our favourite fish species.<br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2017-11-15T12:17:23-08:00 Seeing Redd Grates and Ladders <p class="plain">At this point in the year, we don't have a lot of field work left, desk season is approaching. There are a few things left, temperature loggers across Charlotte County that need to be picked up and the Magaguadavic fishway needs checking a few times a week.<br><img width="400" alt="" daid="17644694" src='//' title="" height="224"><br>The high winds and heavy rains of the past several days took the leaves off the trees, removing a lot of the colour from the landscape in the course of hours. When we checked the fishway over the weekend, it seemed like most of the leaves had ended up in there, clogging grates and threatening to hold back the flow. It also seemed that the high water and faster flows may have washed a few fish below the dam. The landlocked salmon here made its way back up the ladder, was quickly measured and photographed before continuing its way back to- the river.<br><br>We don't expect to see many more fish, but we'll keep checking until mid-December. At that point we'll bypass the research trap so fish can make their way freely into the river.<br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.,</i><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br></p> Graham 2017-11-01T05:41:04-07:00 Grates and Ladders Great Scott <p class="plain">The ASF Research Department has been tagging salmon kelts with pop-up satellite tags since 2012. These tags are archival, meaning that they record information every so often and store it on-board. Some archival tags need to <img width="250" align="left" daid="17626984" src='//' style="margin: 15px 15px 15px 0px;float: left" size="250" border="0">be retrieved in order to access that data, but in the case of pop-up archival satellite tags (PSATs), they can transmit the data. They 'pop-off' the fish at a pre-determined time, or when sensors suggest the fish has died, and float to the surface. From there, virtually anywhere on the planet, they can transmit to the ARGOS network of satelites. That network is used by scientists for all kinds of fascinating research.<br><br>In the spring of 2015, we tagged a kelt in the Northwest Miramichi River with a PSAT. Unfortunately we never received any transmissions from the tag. In the summer of 2016, we found out why. The tag had washed ashore on the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, where it happened to be found by young Calum McLeod. He noticed two things about the tag, that the antennae was broken and information on the tag asking finders to contact the ASF. He did just that and sent it back, along with some fishing stories and hand-drawn art of some of his catches.<br><br><img width="750" daid="17626960" src='//' height="421" size="-1" border="0"><br><br>The data took some time to extract and analyse the data (more data is available for recovered tags than can be transmitted), but that process is complete now. The kelt in question was tagged in early May, went to see soon after and meandered towards Gaspe and Anticosti Island. Throughout June it moved along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, out the Strait of Belle Isle and then offshore. By July it was way off West Greenland. Unfortunately at this point the data shows that it was predated. The temperature data after predation show much warmer temperatures than the surrounding water, warm enough to be consistent with a marine mammal.  The unfortunate truth for wild Atlantic salmon is that they are prey species for some other animals, however it is nice to know that this particular fish did reproduce at least once before meeting its fate.<br><img width="700" daid="17626953" src='//' height="633" size="-1" border="0"><br>Thanks to Calum for keeping his eyes open that day on the beach and reaching out to us. The data from this tag will add to a growing knowledge base of the marine migration routes and diving behaviour of Atlantic salmon kelts as well as predation events.<br><br><i>Graham Chafe, ASF Research.</i><br></p> Graham 2017-10-11T10:11:24-07:00 Great Scott