ASF Fieldwork Update – Spring 2019

Graham Chafe

May 28, 2019
A smolt is prepared for insertion of an acoustic tracking device in its body cavity. Graham Chafe/ASF
After what has been variable weather over the past month, your ASF Research Department is well on its way to completing the spring fieldwork. We are tagging our usual component of smolt this year on the Restigouche, Northwest and Southwest Miramichi and Cascapedia Rivers. Twenty-eight kelt were also tagged on the Cascapedia a few weeks ago, while the water was high and there was still a lot of snow on the ground. These tagged fish will be recorded by acoustic receivers placed in the rivers, estuaries and at the exits from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Michael MacNeill prepares gear to be deployed on the water. ASF Research
While weather and water levels have made things tricky, we have just completed the tagging on the Southwest Miramichi River at Rocky Brook Camp. Michael MacNeill, a Dalhousie Co-op student, and Graham Chafe, ASF Biologist, made two trips to the camp to tag 130 smolt for two projects.

Thanks to Rocky Brook Camp once again for holding the smolt for us as well as housing and feeding us. Meanwhile, Eric and Ellen are currently on the Northwest Miramichi tagging there. The captures in the wheel there are slower than the Southwest so far, but it is normal for it to be a bit later anyway. Upper Oxbow Adventures is providing support for that team again this year, making our jobs much easier and more comfortable. The support is important for these projects and we really appreciate the help.
Rocky Brook Camp has supported ASF's research work for many years, and is an ideal location for releasing smolts on the Southwest Miramichi. ASF Research
Michael MacNeill prepares to deploy acoustic receivers that will monitor the downstream movement of smolts. ASF Research
Further north, Carole-Anne Gillis of the Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council, and David Leblanc or the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council Inc and staff have been deploying receivers and tagging smolt in the Restigouche River. More than half have so far been tagged and we expect the rest over the coming days. Mike Best, ASF Technician, is waiting on weather and seas to calm on the Baie des Chaleurs to deploy our receiver line there. Student Michael is there with him as well, he didn’t get home between trips, we met Mike on the highway near Boiestown and he jumped trucks. Students tend to be eager to go everywhere and gain all the experience they can and we are more than happy to comply. In a few weeks the Cascapedia smolts will start running and we’ll complete the year’s spring tagging then, likely finishing off in much nicer weather than we started.

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