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2 USGS-Leetown Science Center; S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, One Migratory Way, Turners Falls, MA 01376
3 Harvard University, Lauder Laboratory. 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
4 Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources (CSAR), Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University; P.O. Box 4920, St. Johns, NL, A1C 5R3.
Selective passage of native fishes through barriers that prevent passage of Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is a priority of the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission. We measured swimming performance, endurance, and behaviors of Sea Lamprey as well as two species native to the Great Lakes (White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni) and Walleye (Sander vitreus)) subjected to a 35-m long open channel flume passing velocities of up to 4.5 m s-1. Fish were tagged with passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) and were allowed to enter the flume volitionally from a low-velocity staging area. Progress and movements were monitored with an array of 20 PIT antennas. The study was performed over two years: in the first year all fish ascended a bare flume; in the second year the flume was lined with an attachment-inhibiting substrate. The substrate had no effect on the native fishes, but greatly impeded movement of Sea Lampreys, particularly at speeds > 2.0 m s-1. Distance of ascent varied widely among individual attempts within each species. Although Sea Lampreys ascended shorter distances on average than their native counterparts, this difference was insufficient to reliably provide selective passage. Lampreys performed better than expected, reaching swim speeds as high as 8 body lengths s-1, and staging attempts at a rate far greater than the native species. The combination of greater-than-expected endurance, high attempt rate, and large body size all contributed to the performance of Sea Lamprey. Nevertheless, the results are encouraging, showing that hydraulic barriers hold potential for Sea Lamprey control and selective fish passage.