world fish migration day
Fish migrate up and down rivers, some even out into lakes, the sea, or ocean, to complete their lifecycles; some species may swim more than 10,000 km within a single year between breeding and feeding grounds. Some even manage to find the exact river where they were born, after spending years in the open sea. They navigate using ocean currents, magnetic fields, even their sense of taste and smell.
There are more than 1,100 freshwater species that migrate distances of more than 100 km, and millions of people around the world who depend on them for food, sport, research and intrigue. However, increased impacts from instream barriers, such as hydroelectric dams, pollution and other habitat changes have had massive effects on the survival of these fish and the communities that depend on them.
To make people more aware of these issues, the World Fish Migration Foundation’s founder, Herman Wanningen, organised a local Fish Migration Day seventeen years ago. To everyone’s surprise, a thousand people turned up that day. People were actually interested in migratory fish! Herman left his government job and expanded this Fish Migration Day from a regional, to a national, to, in 2014, an international event.
Following the success of this event, the World Fish Migration Foundation was founded as a non-profit organization to bring global attention to these topics and give people the tools to understand, promote and restore rivers to an uninterrupted, free-flowing state. The foundation’s mission is to support people who are working on opening up rivers for migratory fish, through international outreach and offering support networks and the tools to do the job. This will help protect and conserve migratory fish and the rivers we depend on.
What we do
Wild and free rivers can be protected and even the most polluted and dammed rivers can recover. We start with public engagement, develop smart policies and funding streams, then help implement effective on-the-ground solutions to create healthy rivers filled with migratory fish. Only then will we start to realize our vision of free-flowing rivers full of fish.