© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Downstream passage of European eel Anguilla anguilla (L.) in catchments with pump(s) for water level management is a major concern. Catchment-wide acoustic telemetry revealed silver eels quickly migrated downstream through unobstructed reaches (n = 12; mean ± SD = 17.9 ± 1.9 km/day). Fourteen of 17 acoustic-tagged eels detected at the pumping station (82.1%) retreated back upstream and ten (58.8%) passed through pumps after delays (9.5 ± 11.0 days). Multi-beam sonar imaging across the intake screen (55-mm gaps) revealed that peaks in migration occurred during the nights preceding the new moon but 76.7% retreated back upstream. All passive integrated transponder (PIT)-tagged eels recaptured (n = 56) downstream of a large (2.23-m diameter) mixed flow pump survived but 96.5% had minor injuries, reduced physical condition and/or abnormal behaviour. By contrast, 64.7% of PIT-tagged eels recaptured (n = 17) downstream of a small (0.8-m diameter) axial flow pump died. No acoustic-tagged eels that passed through the small axial flow pump (n = 10) performed onward migration at sea, unlike “control” eels released downstream (n = 11). This evidence may help develop effective remediation measures, such as operational changes, to maximise escapement of catadromous eel species at pumping stations.
Bolland, J. D., Murphy, L. A., Stanford, R. J., Angelopoulos, N. V., Baker, N. J., Wright, R. M., …Cowx, I. G. (2019). Direct and indirect impacts of pumping station operation on downstream migration of critically endangered European eel. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 26(1), 76-85. https://doi.org/10.1111/fme.12312