Today is the first ever World Fish Migration Day and community events are taking place across the globe to celebrate the importance of freshwater migratory fish and free flowing rivers. WWF (NL), The Nature Conservancy (USA), the IUCN SSC/Wetlands International Freshwater Fish Specialist Group and Wanningen Water Consult with LINKit consult have all come together to promote the theme of CONNECTING FISH, RIVERS AND PEOPLE.
Events commence in New Zealand and, following the sun, finish as it sets in Hawaii. This international day will bring global attention to the need to ensure that natural river networks remain connected and, where they are fragmented, to ensure that they are restored wherever possible, in order to achieve healthy fish populations and productive rivers.
Migratory fish species support food supply and livelihoods for millions of people, but are now more than ever under great threat. The main causes of this are man-made obstacles. Dams, weirs and sluices built for water management, hydropower, irrigation and land drainage disrupt the natural flow of rivers and can prevent fish migration. Many fish need to migrate to reproduce, feed and complete their life cycles. Migratory species make up a crucial link in the food chain and play an important ecological role in productive river systems. Giant catfish, sturgeon, eel and salmon are just some of the famous migratory species under human pressure.
“Most heart attacks are the result of a blockage of arteries; blocking or disrupting river flows have the same effect on the planet as they do in the human body, unless we are becoming much more proactive in addressing the alarming incremental pace of river flow disruption, we are likely to give the planet a heart attack with seriously crippling and devastating consequences to all life on earth!” says Dr. Richard Sneider, Global Chair of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish Specialist Group.