Development of Fish Passage in China



ABSTRACT: China began to develop fish passage at hydroelectric dams in the 1960s, but few were implemented until the 2000s, when a federal law was passed in 2002 that required fish passage at new hydroelectric dams that block fish migrations. Because of this regulation, in the past 10 years, about 40 fish passage facilities have been or are being built. Even though fish scientists and hydraulic engineers are enthusiastic to develop fish passage, progress is limited mainly because of (1) the lack of an accepted and enforced process to plan, design, and evaluate fish passage; (2) the lack of knowledge on migratory fish life history movement, behavior, and swimming ability; and (3) the failure of fish biologists and engineers to work together as a fish passage team. Future development should focus on the following: educating agency staff, fish biologists, and the public on the importance of river connectivity and migratory fish conservation using fishways; improving regulations; and setting national standards that require scientific evaluation of all fishways. We also suggest consideration of the following: a reward system, basic fish biological research, national fish passage research and development centers, and collaboration by Chinese engineers and biologists with foreign fish passage expertise. Xiaotao Shi, Boyd Kynard, Defu Liu, Ye Qiao, Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China. E-mail: [email protected]

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