Evaluation of fishway designs for use at the ebb and flow region of rivers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Lewis, Hylton Varian (2006) Evaluation of fishway designs for use at the ebb and flow region of rivers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Fishways are devices that are increasingly being used worldwide to assist aquatic biofauna to migrate through man-made barriers such as weirs and large-scale dams that are used for water storage, electricity generation etc. and have a negative impact on both the upstream and downstream movement of aquatic organisms. Fishways are usually low gradient channels with evenly placed chambers which allow such migrating aquatic species minimal stress on their passage over these barriers. Despite the existence of national and regional policies for their provision, their construction has often been inhibited through a lack of local assessment of the available designs, and use of ineffective international designs. As part of a larger national research programme, sponsored by the Water Research Commission, to develop a protocol for fishway design and implementation, this study sought to investigate the suitability of vertical slot and sloping baffle designs to assist the migrations of juvenile catadromic fish species in the ebb and flow region of rivers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. These fishways were initially tested under controlled conditions at the Experimental Fish Farm at the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University using various fish species. Using the performance data thus collected they were then installed and monitored in the field for the catadromic Myxus capensis (freshwater mullet) and Monodactylus falciformis (cape moony) migrations during March and November of 2005 at the Kowie River ebb and flow weir. The laboratory tests showed that there was a significantly higher level of migration success in the vertical slot compared with the sloping baffle fishway under all conditions (F=82.157; p<0.001). There was, however, a slow decline in levels of success with increased discharge in the vertical slot fishway. This was in contrast to the sloping baffle design where success increased as discharge increased at a steep gradient (F=74.894; p<0.005). The level of success with the M. capensis was related to the size of the fish for both systems with success increasing from the small to the large fish (F=17.755; p<0.001). For the M. falciformis higher levels of success were found to occur in the vertical slot fishway compared to the sloping baffle fishway (F=11.792; p<0.00086), with no significant differences being found with an increase in discharge. Field data indicated similar trends with higher migration success using the vertical slot fishway. M. capensis were better able to negotiate both devices compared to the M. falciformis and overall levels of success were higher for both species in the field than under laboratory conditions where the migration urge may have declined.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Fishways, South Africa, Eastern Cape, Aquatic ecology
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Fishes
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Ichthyology & Fisheries Science
ID Code:2729
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:26 Apr 2012 12:39
Last Modified:26 Apr 2012 12:39
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