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QUANTIFYING DETECTION RANGE OF ACOUSTIC TELEMETRY TAGS IN DEEP WATER: FIRST STEP FOR USE IN SPECIES RESTORATIONS
Project ID – 2015_FIS_44040
1University of Windsor, Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4, Canada
2Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Glenora Fisheries Station, 41 Hatchery Lane, Picton, Ontario, K0K 2T0, Canada
Restoration of native species is a strategic priority for most agencies on the Great Lakes. Stocking of hatchery-raised juvenile fish is the most common method used to re-introduce or maintain fish stocks. The fate of these released fish, particularly the immediate survival and habitat use, is largely unknown. Such information would be very valuable for assessing the efficacy and for improving the success of the restoration project. For example, does the size of the fish or release date alter the behaviour and ultimate survival of released fish? Acoustic telemetry provides a method for tracking the movement and survival of larger fish and has been very successful in increasing our understanding of Great Lakes fish through programs such as Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS). GLATOS has established a network of 69 kHz Vemco acoustic receivers throughout the Great Lakes for recording acoustically tagged fish but the smallest sized 69 kHz tags are too large for most released juvenile fish. The 180 kHz acoustic system tags are much smaller, and the smallest tag (V5, 0.65 g) can be put in fish as small as 10 g. These small tags have the potential to provide survival and habitat use data for small hatchery raised fish. However, an important first step in establishing and effective receiver array is to carry out range test studies of the 180 kHz tags. To address this, we quantified the detection range for a wide range of Vemco acoustic tags (180 kHz: V5, V9; 69 kHz: V7, V9 and V13) both at depth (~50-60 m) and above the thermocline in eastern Lake Ontario to understand the effects of depth, temperature, and water column noise (i.e. wave action and currents) on acoustic detection range. Detection ranges of all tags at depth in Lake Ontario were better then reported by the manufacturer and for marine systems but were reduced when transmission passed through the thermocline. Detection ranges were also influenced by wind and lake conditions, lower detection ranges were found when the lake was isothermal and without ice. Detection ranges at 50% detection probability across all conditions were: V5 180 kHz 200 to 300 m; V0 180 kHz 300 to 400 m; V9 69 kHz 450 to > 900 m; V13 69 kHz 425 to > 900m; and V16 69 kHz 500 to > 900 m. This information and data will inform design and layout of acoustic telemetry arrays in deeper water regions of the Great Lakes, opening the door to using this technology to address manage and restoration of deep water native species.