Latest News

NEW paper published in Animal Biotelemetry that reports the performance of a high-frequency acoustic array for tracking juvenile Pacific salmon in the coastal ocean

Acoustic transmitters keep getting smaller! We have just published a paper on the performance of an acoustic array we designed to detect the new, smaller, higher-frequency tags produced by Innovasea (formerly VEMCO Canada). The array was deployed in the Discovery Islands region of BC in 2015 and achieved 76% detection probability for 180 kHz tags implanted into migrating juvenile steelhead. Smaller tags are important because they allow studies on a larger fraction of the fish size spectrum (>95 mm), and reduce the probability of negative effects from the tag. Unfortunately, detection range and study duration are also reduced which introduces new challenges. Our array design balances performance with cost. We hope this work will assist other researchers in the use of this developing technology!

The paper is freely available from Springer Nature .

COVID-19 Update

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all KRS employees are working from home. We are available as usual by phone and email ( contact us). We’d like to wish you and your loved ones well during this difficult time.

NEW animation of adult Chinook salmon returning to the Fraser River in 2019

Kintama has released a movie animation to show the migration of adult Chinook salmon as they migrate around the south end of Vancouver Island on their return trip to the Fraser and other river basins.

With support from the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia, 100 adult Chinook were acoustic-tagged in 2019 by our collaborator at UBC, Professor Scott Hinch, and his team near Port Renfrew, BC. The fish were detected on acoustic receiver arrays deployed by Kintama Research in Haro Strait and the Fraser River to track Fraser-bound Chinook. Other receiver arrays deployed by the Ocean Tracking Network, NOAA Fisheries, and Ocean Networks Canada provided additional location information for Fraser River stocks as well as Chinook returning to Puget Sound and other rivers.

Some of these fish really explored! For an example, click on ‘Tag 6312’ under the Display menu to see a single Fraser River Chinook which first milled around in the Strait of Juan de Fuca before heading deep into Puget Sound and then turning around and migrating into the Fraser River.

Kintama partners with the Province on a multi-year Cowichan Lake cutthroat trout study

Cowichan Lake is one of the most important fisheries on Vancouver Island, yet we have a poor understanding of the spatial ecology of its most sought after species, wild coastal cutthroat trout, or the degree to which fisheries regulations are appropriate or effective. With funding from the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C., and assistance from volunteer anglers, Kintama and the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development acoustic-tagged 42 cutthroat trout in October 2019 which will be monitored for up to 3 years by an array of acoustic receivers deployed throughout Cowichan Lake.

The acoustic-tagged fish plus an extra 38 (80 total) were also marked with brightly coloured Floy T-bar anchor tags that will be used to help separate natural from fishing mortality. Anglers are asked to remove the Floy tags and submit them to the ministry office at 2080A Labieux Rd in Nanaimo for a $100 reward (or photograph and email to

An animation showing the movements of these fish up to the last data upload on Feb 28, 2020 is available here .

Erin Rechisky addresses members of Northwest RiverPartners

Dr. Erin Rechisky, Kintama’s Research Manager, was Guest Speaker at the Northwest RiverPartners 2019 Annual Meeting in Portland OR ( Her presentation “Coast-wide Decline in Chinook Salmon Return Rates” compared survival of Snake River Chinook to other rivers (mostly undammed) from southern Oregon to southeast Alaska.

Kintama’s President gives keynote speech in the U.K. to share experience on designing acoustic telemetry arrays

Dr. David Welch was the keynote speaker at the Salmonid Management Round the Channel (SAMARCH) workshop in Southhampton U.K. He drew on 20 years of experience using acoustic telemetry arrays for his presentation: “Lessons learned from working on large-scale marine tracking arrays”.

David Welch gives keynote speech at the 2019 BC Wildlife Federation Annual Meeting

Kintama’s CEO, Dr. David Welch, gave the keynote presentation for the Selective Fishing Forum of the BC Wildlife Federation Annual meeting: “The coast-wide collapse in marine survival of west coast Chinook and steelhead: simply a slow-moving catastrophe or a deeper failure?”. He presented data showing that only about 1% of Chinook salmon and steelhead smolts survive to adulthood for most populations along the Pacific coast between California and Southeast Alaska.

NEW paper on freshwater and early marine survival of Chilko Lake sockeye salmon

Kintama has published the results of a five-year study “Quantifying survival of age-2 Chilko Lake sockeye salmon during the first 50 days of migration ” in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. The article is available here.

In collaboration with Dr. Scott Hinch and his students at UBC, we used acoustic telemetry to investigate survival of age-2 sockeye salmon as they emigrated from Chilko Lake, British Columbia, Canada, to northeastern Vancouver Island (NEVI) from 2010 to 2014.

David Welch receives the 2012 Award of Excellence from the Fisheries Management Section of the American Fisheries Society

David Welch has been awarded the 2012 Award of Excellence from the American Fisheries Society Fisheries Management Section. The Award of Excellence is given “…for inspirational leadership in the fishery profession and substantial achievements for AFS and the fisheries resource. The recipients must have effectively communicated their work at the national and/or international level. The Award of Excellence is given for cumulative accomplishments rather than a singular effort.

The award will be presented at the AFS Annual General Meeting in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) Minnesota, on the 19th of August 2012. The AFS is the oldest and largest professional society for fisheries scientists in the world.

More information and past recipients can be found here.

Nature’s Scientific Reports publishes results from Kintama’s salmon survival study

Kintama’s latest paper has been published in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports. Dr. Erin Rechisky, Kintama’s Research Manager, is the lead author of the paper “Estuarine and early-marine survival of transported and in-river migrant Snake River spring Chinook salmon smolts” that was published today in Nature’s open access journal. The paper presents results from Kintama and Fish Passage Solutions’ 2006-2009 study on whether barging reduces survival of transported smolts in the Columbia River. The study used a large-scale marine acoustic telemetry array to experimentally test whether survival of transported spring Chinook salmon smolts was reduced relative to control groups that first migrated through eight major hydropower dams during their seaward migration. The results indicate that barging does not negatively affect survival of smolts post-release, a key issue that could not previously be resolved, and that attention should be placed on what ocean conditions the smolts may encounter as a consequence of altered timing of ocean entry due to transportation downstream.

The paper can be viewed in its entirety from Nature’s website while a full copy with the Supplementary Information section appended is also available direct from Kintama’s website.

“Many juvenile Snake River Chinook salmon are transported downriver to avoid hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River basin. As mortality to the final dam is ~50%, transported fish should return as adults at roughly double the rate of nontransported fish; however, the benefit of transportation has not been realized consistently. “Delayed” mortality caused by transportation-induced stress is one hypothesis to explain reduced returns of transported fish. Differential timing of ocean entry is another. We used a large-scale acoustic telemetry array to test whether survival of transported juvenile spring Chinook is reduced relative to in-river migrant control groups after synchronizing ocean entry timing. During the initial 750 km, 1 month long migration after release, we found no evidence of decreased estuarine or ocean survival of transported groups; therefore, decreased survival to adulthood for transported Chinook is likely caused by factors other than delayed effects of transportation, such as earlier ocean entry.”