SafePass aims to find the best solutions for fish migration in regulated rivers, from the perspectives of both the fish and the hydropower industry.

During the last 150 years, more than 500 fish ladders have been built in Norway, enabling salmonid fishes to pass natural waterfalls and hydropower dams. While many of the salmon ladders work well, successful fishways for inland fish species remain a challenge and many dams continue to hinder the migration of brown trout, grayling and other species.

The success of helping fish past upstream barriers may be of limited value if the downstream migration of the adults and their offspring is not considered. Fish swimming into hydropower turbines may be injured or die and it is vital to find alternative downstream migration routes. SafePass will put the spotlight on the problems of downstream migration.

The hydropower industry in Norway is currently facing new legislations demanding better solutions for the migration of important fish species in regulated rivers, and particularly so for the strongly declining European eel. Both upstream and downstream migration solutions result in water loss and reduced hydropower production, whereas society aims for increased renewable energy production. SafePass aims to find the best solutions for both fish and hydropower.

SafePass represents a major effort to develop and strengthen the scientific approach to migration challenges for fish species in coastal and inland rivers, a field of research in its early stages in Norway. We will develop new cost effective solutions based on international cooperation, basic research and tests of different measures. By performing detailed studies of fish behaviour and hydraulic conditions, we will increase our understanding of why fish behave the way they do. Such knowledge is vital for developing solutions. Moreover, we will develop and test new screens that prevent fish from entering turbines and measures that scare fish away from the dangerous migration path and attract them to the safe one. The knowledge will be compiled in a Norwegian handbook for migration solutions, directly applicable for the hydropower industry and management.