Fish used to be able to migrate freely. Now they cannot. Sea level rise and land subsidence have made global water management more and more active. Barriers are being built to protect people and their habitats, and running water is being used as a source of energy.
Fish suffer as a result. Their migration routes are now cut off. Fish need these migration routes to reproduce. Since 1970, worldwide populations of migratory (freshwater) fish species have declined by 76%, Within Europe, 37% of freshwater fish species are threatened. Eel populations, for example, have even declined by 97%. For many fish species where migration is important for reproduction, such as eels, facilitating migration opportunities is essential.
Guidelines and goals have been set that endorse the problem of declining fish populations.
Water Framework Directive
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires EU member states to adopt river basin management plans (RBMP) once every 6 years. The current RBMP runs from 2022 to 2027. On the main fish migration routes in the Netherlands alone, there are more than 1,100 fish migration barriers to be resolved in this period. The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management is ultimately responsible for this requirement, but provinces, water boards and municipalities are also involved.
Sustainable Development Goals #14
In the Sustainable Development Goals that have been established globally by the United Nations, sustainable fish, seafood value chains, trade and climate are at #14. Fish migration is therefore also a global issue.
Effective fish migration
The Netherlands represents the fishway to Europe for numerous fish species and is a leader in water management. Yet, it has proven difficult to solve the fish migration problem. Studies by aquatic engineering firms have shown that more is needed for effective fish migration.
The mission of Vislift
Our mission is to actively contribute to welfare and ecology by making fish-oriented knowledge and insight accessible through an innovative open fish migration platform.