Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7157
Title: A comparison of migration rates of radio-and PIT-tagged adult Snake River Chinook salmon through the Columbia River hydropower system
Author: A. L. Matter, Benjamin P. Sandford
Publication Year: 2003
Journal: North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Volume: 23
Issue: 3
Pages: 967-973

Documentation of adult salmonid migration behavior in the Columbia River drainage is critically needed to assess the effects of dams on travel time and passage.  In 2000, we compared the upstream travel times of passive integrated transponder (PIT)-tagged and radio-tagged adult Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha from Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River to Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.  We found no evidence that radio tagging negatively affected Chinook salmon behavior.  In fact, their median travel time (14.1 d, range = 7.8-44.4 d, N = 113) was actually faster (statistically significant at P = 0.005) than that for PIT-tagged fish (median = 15.9 d, range = 8.9-67.4 d, N = 164) after accounting for temporal effects (i.e., Bonneville Dam passage date).  However, we concluded this difference was not biologically significant and was probably related to differences in study design or data complications.  This study indicated that radio transmitters weighing less than 2% of Chinook salmon body weight and the handling associated with implanting those tags did not negatively affect temporal rates of fish movement from dam to dam.

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