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Optimising Denil fishways for passage of small and large fishes

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An 8-m long experimental fishway was trialled at three different slopes [8.3% (1:12), 14.3% (1:7) and 20% (1:5)] to examine the potential of the single-plane Denil fishway for the passage of small- and large-bodied native fishes in Australia. Fish between 45 and 630 mm ascended the fishway. The lowest slope enabled the full size range of bony herring Nematalosa erebi (G√ľnther), from 45 to 350 mm fork length, to ascend the fishway successfully as well as a higher numerical proportion; 88% at the 8.3% slope compared with 31% at the 20% slope (fish numbers per trial = 33–3936). These results dispel the notion that Denil fishways are inherently poor for small fishes. Manipulating the design parameters of slope, length, width and possibly depth-over-breadth ratio enables Denil fishways to pass a wide size range of fish, which may greatly extend their present application and enable them to make a greater contribution to the rehabilitation of diverse fish communities.

Keywords: Australia; Denil; bony herring; fish passage; fishways; potamodromous migration

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2007


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