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Meta-analyses, metrics and motivation: mixed messages in the fish passage debate

Meta-analyses, metrics and motivation: mixed messages in the fish passage debate
Meta-analyses, metrics and motivation: mixed messages in the fish passage debate
Over recent years, there has been increasing challenge to the accepted wisdom that the environmental impacts of river engineering can be adequately mitigated through the installation of infrastructure, such as fish passes. This has led to a debate on the value of fish passage with some arguing that increased research and development will advance solutions for a variety of structures that are suitable for multiple species and transferable to different regions. Others suggest that policies and management strategies should reflect the realization that current mitigation technology frequently fails and can itself have negative impacts. Meta-analyses of the results of studies on fish passage effectiveness have led to the challenge of conventional views by highlighting lower than expected efficiencies, wide variation between and within fish pass designs, and bias towards consideration of a limited number of commercially important species mainly from northern temperate regions. Results of meta-analyses can also be controversial, and difficulties can arise when nuances associated with individual studies are lost and when metrics used are not standardized. Intrinsic variation in fish passage efficiency between and within species due to differences in patterns of movement and motivation may not be considered, and in many situations, current metrics are not appropriate. Quantification of variation in trends in fish passage efficiency over time and with spatial scale is lacking and should be the focus of future reviews. It is time to accept that fish passage does not provide a universally effective mitigation solution, particularly when designs and strategies are transferred to other regions and species for which they were not originally designed. Admitting to cases of failure is an essential first step to advancing water resources planning and regulation based on well-informed decision-making processes
1535-1459
2116-2124
Kemp, Paul
9e33fba6-cccf-4eb5-965b-b70e72b11cd7
Kemp, Paul
9e33fba6-cccf-4eb5-965b-b70e72b11cd7

Kemp, Paul (2016) Meta-analyses, metrics and motivation: mixed messages in the fish passage debate. River Research and Applications, 32 (10), 2116-2124. (doi:10.1002/rra.3082).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Over recent years, there has been increasing challenge to the accepted wisdom that the environmental impacts of river engineering can be adequately mitigated through the installation of infrastructure, such as fish passes. This has led to a debate on the value of fish passage with some arguing that increased research and development will advance solutions for a variety of structures that are suitable for multiple species and transferable to different regions. Others suggest that policies and management strategies should reflect the realization that current mitigation technology frequently fails and can itself have negative impacts. Meta-analyses of the results of studies on fish passage effectiveness have led to the challenge of conventional views by highlighting lower than expected efficiencies, wide variation between and within fish pass designs, and bias towards consideration of a limited number of commercially important species mainly from northern temperate regions. Results of meta-analyses can also be controversial, and difficulties can arise when nuances associated with individual studies are lost and when metrics used are not standardized. Intrinsic variation in fish passage efficiency between and within species due to differences in patterns of movement and motivation may not be considered, and in many situations, current metrics are not appropriate. Quantification of variation in trends in fish passage efficiency over time and with spatial scale is lacking and should be the focus of future reviews. It is time to accept that fish passage does not provide a universally effective mitigation solution, particularly when designs and strategies are transferred to other regions and species for which they were not originally designed. Admitting to cases of failure is an essential first step to advancing water resources planning and regulation based on well-informed decision-making processes

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Accepted/In Press date: 17 August 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 October 2016
Published date: 7 December 2016
Organisations: Water & Environmental Engineering Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400889
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400889
ISSN: 1535-1459
PURE UUID: 7b0c15b0-b8be-49ff-a13e-00ac9b911930
ORCID for Paul Kemp: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4470-0589

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Date deposited: 29 Sep 2016 10:35
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 06:32

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Author: Paul Kemp ORCID iD

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