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New system helps explain salmon migration
Date:1/8/2010

RICHLAND, Wash. A new acoustic telemetry system tracks the migration of juvenile salmon using one-tenth as many fish as comparable methods, suggests a paper published in the January edition of the American Fisheries Society journal Fisheries. The paper also explains how the system is best suited for deep, fast-moving rivers and can detect fish movement in more places than other tracking methods.

The Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System (JSATS) estimated the survival of young, ocean-bound salmon more precisely than the widely used Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags during a 2008 study on the Columbia and Snake rivers, according to the results of a case study discussed in the paper. The paper also concludes that fish behavior is affected least by light-weight JSATS tags compared to larger acoustic tags.

"Fisheries managers and researchers have many technologies to choose from when they study fish migration and survival," said lead author Geoff McMichael of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

"JSATS was specifically designed to understand juvenile salmon passage and survival through the swift currents and noisy hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River," McMichael continued. "But other systems might work better in different circumstances. This paper demonstrates JSATS' strengths and helps researchers weigh the pros and cons of the different fish tracking methods available today."

Scientists at PNNL and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Portland District co-authored the paper. PNNL and NOAA Fisheries began developing JSATS for the Corps in 2001.

JSATS is an acoustic telemetry system that includes the smallest available acoustic transmitting tag, which weighs 0.43 grams. Its battery-powered tags are surgically implanted into juvenile salmon and send a uniquely coded signal every few seconds. Receivers are strategically placed in waterways to record the signal and track when
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Contact: Franny White
frances.white@pnl.gov
509-375-6904
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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