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Ducks Unlimited and a PhD student at U.P.E.I. will begin research this spring into the effectiveness of fish ladders.

New research will track fish in Prince Edward Island rivers to find out whether fish ladders are helping them make their way upstream.

Fish ladders are alterations made to a river using concrete or other material. Ducks Unlimited Canada is teaming with a PhD candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island to tag and follow the movements of Gaspereau and smelts.

Many of the fish ladders on P.E.I. were built in the 1970s and 1980s, according to Jonathan Platts, a conservation programs specialist with Ducks Unlimited.

"They were built for trout and salmon, they weren't built for some of the other species that we now today think are important - like Gaspereau and smelts," he said.

"We want to make sure that when we are building them and when we're managing them that we're actually managing them for all the species that would be expected to pass up through those."

The conservation group plans to replace some of the older ladders. The group will start field work this spring in the Glenfinnan and Pisquid Rivers and at Crosbys Pond in Bonshaw.