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Coastal river connectivity and the distribution of ascending juvenile European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.): Implications for conservation strategies regarding fish-passage solutions
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.;Linnaeus University, Sweden.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8738-8815
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4417-6636
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3541-9835
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2019 (English)In: Aquatic conservation, ISSN 1052-7613, E-ISSN 1099-0755, Vol. 29, no 4, p. 612-622Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many diadromous fish populations are declining and at risk of collapse. Lack of river connectivity is a major contributor to these declines, as free migration routes between marine and freshwater habitats are crucial for life-history completion. For the conservation and ultimately recovery of such species, it is imperative that remedial measures aimed at increasing connectivity are effective. This study investigated the distribution patterns of ascending juvenile European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) in rivers in south-western Sweden, with a focus on the effects of barriers and measures that aim to reduce the impact of barriers, i.e. fish-passage solutions (FPSs). Eel occurrence data were spatially and temporally integrated with the national databases of dams and FPSs in a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment to evaluate their effect on ascending eel distribution. The types of barriers assessed were: (i) dams with nature-like fishways; (ii) dams with eel ramps; (iii) dams with technical fishways; and (iv) dams without FPSs. Dams fitted with eel ramps or technical fishways, as well as dams without FPSs, produced a significant negative effect on the probability of eel occurrence upstream. This negative effect was not found for dams fitted with nature-like fishways, indicating that these solutions may function better than the other FPS types in this study. The probability of eel occurrence decreased with distance from the sea and increased with area sampled, number of electrofishing runs, water temperature, and with the size of the bottom substrate. We suggest that future conservation strategies for improving the natural immigration of juvenile eels should include optimizing FPS function (e.g. placement and design), the continued maintenance of FPSs, the construction of nature-like fishways, and preferably the removal of dams, which will also benefit the downstream migration of maturing eels as well as restoring other ecosystem services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2019. Vol. 29, no 4, p. 612-622
Keywords [en]
Barriers, dams, dispersal, eel ladders, eel management, electrofishing, fish passage, fishways, ramps
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-72118DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3064ISI: 000465962300010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-72118DiVA, id: diva2:1317619
Available from: 2019-05-23 Created: 2019-05-23 Last updated: 2019-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Calles, OlleWatz, JohanNilsson, Per Anders

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