Fish such as salmon are inextricably drawn back to the place of their birth so that they too can procreate and continue the cycle. Some fish follow specific migration routes, and those that inhabit rivers and estuaries impacted by dams and power plants are at risk. Research aimed at protecting these fish is being conducted at the University of Southampton, led by Dr Paul Kemp, from the university’s International Centre for Ecohydraulics Research (ICER). This European science centre is fast making a name for itself around the world as it helps engineers develop hydropower to understand fish behaviour and come up with innovative ways to keep them away from turbines and intake systems.

Dr Kemp is focusing his efforts on investigating behavioural attraction and repulsion along with other aspects of fish behaviour, including distribution and routes of migration. Some fish, such as salmon and trout, will alter their behaviour according to specific hydrodynamic cues, such as acceleration of flow. This can reduce the number of fish that may go down a dangerous abstraction point, for example into a turbine or other water supply off-take, but is negative in the case of safe fish passes that also tend to have accelerating flows….

CORDIS News. 19/11/12. Read the article ‘Creating fish-friendly environments’