Kelt Tracking - 2013
In late April 2013 ASF researchers implanted 25 sonic transmitters into kelts at the Rafting Ground on the Restigouche.
Then in early May 2013, ASF researchers turned to kelts on the Miramichi, and with the assistance of staff of the Miramichi Salmon Association and local first nations, they have been inserting transmitters that will provide identification, depth and temperature information as the kelts migrate to distant feeding grounds.
In addition, a number of these Miramichi kelts had satellite tags attached; designed to "pop off" the fish after five months at sea, and then to transmit their data to a satellite in space.
All kelts were released to continue their migration downstream to the ocean. Lines of sonic receivers are deployed downstream in the river, the question will be how many will pass the Strait of Belle Isle between Labrador and Newfoundland. The sonic receivers will be placed in mid-June.
ASF continues to pioneer tracking research of wild Atlantic salmon, both smolts and kelts, to unravel the mysteries of migration downstream and across oceans towards distant feeding grounds - and to explore the reasons for high at-sea mortality that is affecting returns to rivers in North America.
ASF now has several years of data regarding the movement of kelts. One of the puzzles emerging is whether their presence is important in some way to the smolts as they travel through the Strait of Belle Isle during the same few days in July.
In 2013, ASF appreciates the $25,000 grant in support of the at-sea tracking provided by the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation.