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A comprehensive assessment of the failure of Barbus barbus spawning migrations through a fish pass in the canalized River Meuse (Belgium)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 1994

Etienne Baras
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Fish Demography and Aquaculture, 22 quai Van Beneden, B 4020 Liège, Belgium
Henri Lambert
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Fish Demography and Aquaculture, 22 quai Van Beneden, B 4020 Liège, Belgium
Jean-Claude Philippart
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Fish Demography and Aquaculture, 22 quai Van Beneden, B 4020 Liège, Belgium
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Abstract

This paper presents a comprehensive study of the impact of damming on the spawning migrations of Barbus barbus in the canalized River Meuse (Southern Belgium). A Denil fish pass on the Ampsin-Neuville dam was controlled 251 times in 1989-1993. The most striking feature is the almost complete absence of barbel in 1990-1993 (15 fishes in 4 years). Most captures of barbel in the fish pass in 1989 were clumped within a few days (mid-May) and related with spawning migrations. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that attractivity was the major condition set allowing barbel to migrate successfully through the pass, while feasibility parameters (water velocity) were found not to be relevant. The variables involved in the attractivity condition set refer indirectly to the influence of water catchment by a hydroelectric plant and to the relative importance of the flow in the pass. The study concludes that this additional condition set significantly interferes with the natural environmental stimuli triggering spawning migrations in barbel and questions the effectiveness of the thermally-related reproductive strategy of the species in an environment with restricted longitudinal connectivity. This statement is discussed in parallel with the recent evolution of barbel populations in canalized rivers.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© IFREMER-Gauthier-Villars, 1994

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