Proposed Abstract Title

Tracking smelt: using acoustic telemetry to fill knowledge gaps for forage fish

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Forage Fish Management and Conservation in the Salish Sea

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Acoustic telemetry is a powerful tool for monitoring the movements and behaviors of aquatic species. There are significant knowledge gaps regarding basic life history details for several forage fish species, including the delta smelt (H. transpacificus) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River estuary in California, and the surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) in Puget Sound in Washington. These species hold central positions in the food web, transferring energy from lower trophic levels up to salmon, birds, and marine mammals. We developed and tested tagging procedures for delta smelt that will enable future telemetry efforts, and we monitored the movements of tagged surf smelt in Puget Sound. The delta smelt is a small, critically endangered forage fish found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River estuary, where it is a central player in the debate on water management. We used cultured delta smelt to develop and test a procedure for the surgical implantation of acoustic transmitters. Attaching a transmitter is the first step in conducting a telemetry study, but this challenge has not yet been overcome in delta smelt due, in part, to their small size. We used a prototype acoustic transmitter, and compared the survival, growth, and wound healing of tagged fish to untagged fish. Findings from this effort will advance capabilities to use acoustic telemetry on delta smelt and to guide protection and restoration efforts. The goal of the surf smelt study was to understand how fish use the spawning beaches in the study area. Adult surf smelt were captured at Ross Point, in Port Orchard and near Illahee State Park in Bremerton during their winter spawning period. We implanted 35 fish with acoustic transmitters and monitored their movements in Sinclair Inlet, Dyes Inlet and Port Orchard Bay by a series of acoustic receivers. Tagged fish were consistently detected in the study area throughout the life of the transmitter (60 days).

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Tracking smelt: using acoustic telemetry to fill knowledge gaps for forage fish

2016SSEC

Acoustic telemetry is a powerful tool for monitoring the movements and behaviors of aquatic species. There are significant knowledge gaps regarding basic life history details for several forage fish species, including the delta smelt (H. transpacificus) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River estuary in California, and the surf smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) in Puget Sound in Washington. These species hold central positions in the food web, transferring energy from lower trophic levels up to salmon, birds, and marine mammals. We developed and tested tagging procedures for delta smelt that will enable future telemetry efforts, and we monitored the movements of tagged surf smelt in Puget Sound. The delta smelt is a small, critically endangered forage fish found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River estuary, where it is a central player in the debate on water management. We used cultured delta smelt to develop and test a procedure for the surgical implantation of acoustic transmitters. Attaching a transmitter is the first step in conducting a telemetry study, but this challenge has not yet been overcome in delta smelt due, in part, to their small size. We used a prototype acoustic transmitter, and compared the survival, growth, and wound healing of tagged fish to untagged fish. Findings from this effort will advance capabilities to use acoustic telemetry on delta smelt and to guide protection and restoration efforts. The goal of the surf smelt study was to understand how fish use the spawning beaches in the study area. Adult surf smelt were captured at Ross Point, in Port Orchard and near Illahee State Park in Bremerton during their winter spawning period. We implanted 35 fish with acoustic transmitters and monitored their movements in Sinclair Inlet, Dyes Inlet and Port Orchard Bay by a series of acoustic receivers. Tagged fish were consistently detected in the study area throughout the life of the transmitter (60 days).