Loading





id = "FBMainForm_29925244" action="/research-in-the-field.html" method = "post" onsubmit = "return false" >
Research - In the Field Search  

« Previous 1 of 15 Next »
 
Survey Says
by Graham on 

Juvenile surveys in southwest New Brunswick have continued in the last two weeks and we have just wrapped them up for the year. We've been electrofishing on five Outer Bay of Fundy rivers, the Dennis, Digdeguash, New, Pocologan and Magaguadavic. Last year we saw almost no salmon, but the water then was so low and warm that fish may have vacated our usual sites for better habitat. This year looked to be the same, the Digdeguash was even lower than last year, but we did find juvenile salmon in several locations. While it appears that populations are very low, they seem to be holding in some of the rivers. Other than the Magaguadavic, these are short, small rivers through mostly forested and rural some rural areas.


Along with the juvenile salmon, we found lots of brook trout, blacknose dace, smallmouth bass, white sucker, creek chub and a lone burbot.. And on the way in to one site, we happened upon a good-sized wood turtle climbing up a hill, always nice to see.

The juvenile surveys would not be possible without the support of the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund. They have supported this work for many years and the result is an on-going assessment of the otherwise un-monitored rivers for salmon in particular, but also whatever else we see. We appreciate their help, if you're interested in learning more about them, visit their website at http://www.nbwtf.ca

Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

Bienvenue Clement
by Graham on 

Over the past three years, students from Agrocampus Ouest, a university in Rennes, France have come to work with us for a term. This year is no different as we welcome Clement Taron to the Research Department. He arrived later on Monday and by Tuesday morning we had him electro-fishing on the Pocologan River.  With all of the rains that were expected, we'd gone out for long days of juvenile surveys before the water levels increased too much. Along with salmon parr, we found a lot of brook trout of all sizes, white sucker, creek chub, blacknose dace and even a wood turtle.



Clement will be working with us in several areas as well as undertaking one bigger project. He'll be here until January so he should get in a bit of proper winter as well.

Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

The ASF Team
by Graham on 

Last week ASF staff from around Atlantic Canada and New England got together for a few days at headquarters in Chamcook, NB. With ASF staff spread all over the place it can be hard to find a chance to speak with co-workers in person. Even at our offices in Chamcook, people are often traveling and we might not bump into each other for weeks despite our offices being meters apart.

So we held a few days of meetings to discuss current and recent projects as well as what is coming up in the future. As always, everyone is excited at what is to come with our work. OF course, it wasn't only work, many of us managed to get out for a few hours on a local whale watching boat. While we only saw one minke whale and lots of porpoises, we did manage to have a great time and everyone enjoyed the evening.



Now that we're back in the office and field, we're looking ahead to bringing in the rest of the acoustic gear for 2017. One of the Strait of Belle Isle lines should come out this week, weather permitting (never a sure bet up there). The Chaleur line will come in late this week or early next week. That leaves the second Strait of Belle Isle line and a few things here and there to collect. Now that the nights are cooling off, we're going to be starting electrofishing surveys in the coming weeks as well. Then the results, analysis and planning as the cycle starts again.

Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

ASF Biologists in a big ocean
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 

by Eric Brunsdon

It was early July and as tagged Atlantic salmon left their natal rivers in May, they were just arriving at the Strait of Belle Isle near the northern tip of Newfoundland.

In the next few weeks the majority of postsmolts passed through the strait, and for ASF researchers this signals that it is time for receivers to be retrieved and data downloaded.


Finding the buoys is the first challenge in the rain, and sometimes waves.

Two of our receiver lines, known as Strait of Belle Isle South (24 receivers) and Strait of Bell Isle North (28 receivers) span the entire width of this channel between Newfoundland and Labrador, a distance of about 30 km. Over the next week anchors and receivers were hauled, data was downloaded, and receivers were redeployed to continue monitoring postsmolts as they migrate toward the Atlantic Ocean.

A line of receivers picks up the sonic signal of passing postsmolts and kelts.

In perfect weather, getting this done should take a couple of days. But as we’ve learned from our time working in the strait, there is nothing “usual” about the weather.


Icebergs were just one of the hazards of working in the Strait of Belle Isle.

Strong winds, big waves and rain made locating and downloading receivers difficult and completely halted work for days. We are used to dealing with the elements but this year was especially windy with extremely rough seas.

Once the weather finally improved, we were able to quickly finish the last of the mid season downloads, loving every moment of sunny skies and calm oceans. No matter what the weather though, you can’t help but appreciate the scenery, terrain and wildlife in Newfoundland.


Eric Brunsdon earlier this year, deploying receivers. Units consist of unit with connected anchor, and float.

The data is back at home base, and we can start analyzing it from the comfort of an office chair with a faint reminder that we are still just little fish in a big pond when it comes to the outdoor elements.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

Farewell Heather
by Graham on 

This is the last week of work for ASF Biologist Heather Dixon. Heather has been with us for just over a year and has contributed to all of our projects in that time. From electrofishing in  southwest New Brunswick to smolt tagging in the Miramichi, she has seen a bit of everything we do. That isn't to say she hasn't also spent a lot of time in front of a screen, analyzing data and preparing reports (it's not all field work around here).
Though from Britain originally, Heather came to us from southern Ontario where she set down some roots. After finishing her PhD, she moved to New Brunswick to work with us, but will now be heading back to Ontario to begin a position as a Research Associate in Arctic Biomonitoring at the University of Waterloo.

Best of luck Heather, keep your eyes out for any ASF pop-up tags when you're up north on field work.

Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

Retreiving the Data With a Small Boat
by Atlantic Salmon Federation on 

Graham Chafe, ASF Biologist


Now that Atlantic salmon smolts and kelts have passed through to the open ocean from the Miramichi, it is time to bring up the units and download the data.




Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

North-Bound
by Graham on 

ASF's tracking program encompasses kelts and smolts. The kelt tags, due to their larger size, can last up to three years. The smolt tags are much, much smaller and last a little over 100 days. With kelts, we can track the fish out of the river and back in again the next year if they are consecutive spawners or the year after if they are alternate, or even a combination of the two. Smolts can only be tracked to the Strait of Belle Isle, the batteries don't last too far past that. After they pass the strait, the now post-smolts face their first winter at sea and that is what we, and others, are concerned about. Survival through their first winter is an important issue and is also one of the hardest to investigate due to the length of time, remoteness, limitations of technology and sheer size of the North Atlantic.



A new ASF project aims to investigate the potential of reducing the unknown time by catching and tagging post-smolts in the Strait of Belle Isle. The fish that were 13cm when they left the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence rivers in May will be larger by the time they cross the strait in July. Tags that are even just a bit bigger can have a much longer battery life, so we are undertaking a reconnaissance mission to the strait in 2017, so if feasible, we can make plans for 2018.

Eric and James are driving up to Green Island Cove, where our receiver line is, with a ton of gear. They will be using a trawl net fitted with a custom box at the end that will keep any fish caught out of the current and safe from harm. It is a preliminary trip, but we have high hopes for proof of concept. Thanks to Justin, Tim and others from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Maine for exploring this idea and particularly for sharing experiences with the trawl. The equipment was new to us and being able to go out on a trawl in Penobscot Bay was a great help in preparing for this trip. At-sea mortality is a big issue for salmon in their first winter and we aim to reduce the knowledge gap with this project.

 Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

Waiting on the Weather
by Graham on 

It's a different world up in the Strait of Belle Isle. While those of us in southern New Brunswick are basking in the sun today, the folks in northern Newfoundland are a little bit cooler. The ASF's Director of Newfoundland and Labrador Programs has been waiting for the weather to clear to deploy our acoustic tracking equipment in the strait. He and Loomis Way, a local fisherman who has been taking us out to deploy and recover gear for years have everything ready by he wharf, but they can't leave the harbour.



If all things went according to plan, and they never quite do, this line of equipment would have been out by now. First, they had to wait for the ice to clear, since then it has been waves, wind or fog that has kept them high and dry. This morning, Don mentioned that they had to move their cars off the wharf as waves were crashing right over it. There is still time left before the kelts tend to arrive so all is far from lost. The smolts will pass through a little later than the kelts and by late August, the gear will have been removed for the season again. Looks like they might get on the water Friday, fingers crossed.

Graham Chafe, ASF Research.


Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

The King of Fish, Far from the Sea
by Graham on 

Last week I was in our nation's capital and found myself wandering the Byward Market. On the corner of Murray and Sussex, just across from the American embassy and up from the National Gallery of Canada, I found a small, bright store full of rare and antiquarian books. While talking to the store's owner, I wandered the aisles around the shelf-ladders and glanced at titles. Arctic exploration, Irish history (no doubt mentioning the Miramichi area), natural history and atlases all grabbed my attention for a time but one section really jumped out at me, the one on angling.


At first I saw "How To Tie Salmon Flies" by a Captain Hale, followed by "Return To The River" by Haig-Brown and "Let's Go Fishing" by Lee Wulf. All older, early run hard covers, all carefully maintained and behind glass, they sat there as proof of the Atlantic salmon's ability to grab the attention and imagination of generations of anglers and conservationists. Books are still being written about the species that we all care so much about and it was good to see that the older knowledge and experiences were well kept for future generations. I wonder if Captain Hale's flies are as effective now as he found them in 1892.

Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

Smolts Away!
by Graham on 

The last of the 2017 smolts have been tagged and released this week. Eric and Kelsey were on the Grand Cascapedia for a couple of days earlier this week. Despite all the difficulties the locals faced with the high waters, they managed to get the smolt wheel out for us to keep our time series of records from that river.


 

They tagged and released 60 smolts, 20 more than the usual. The receivers in the mouth of the river as well as Chaleur Bay are deployed and waiting for the little fish to pass by. That's the end of the spring fieldwork, but we're not resting on our laurels. We're monitoring the up and downstream passage facilities on the Magaguadavic and mid-season downloads of Miramichi gear will take place pretty soon. The Strait of Belle Isle line will go out in a week and ahalf and at the beginning of July, Eric will be headed up there to do some investigation of post-smolts as they pass the strait. It isn't always super-busy, but it is never slow.


Graham Chafe, ASF Research.

Comments     Permalink     Add Comment

« Previous 1 of 15 Next »
 
RSS Feed