World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) represents an international effort to bring attention to the importance of migratory fishes and their migration routes. Coordinated by the World Fish Migration Foundation, WFMD presents an opportunity for organizations to prepare their own events around the world focused on the theme of “Connecting Fish, Rivers, and People”.
Rivers are an important resource to humans and facilitate our way of life. They provide services such as hydropower, drinking water, irrigation, transportation, and opportunities such as fishing, and recreational activities, among other things. To enhance these uses, rivers are often altered by practices such as dredging, channelization, or damming.
Unsurprisingly, these alterations can impact fish. Migratory fishes that use these waterways as “roads” from one critical habitat to another are especially vulnerable. For example, several species of salmon migrate from open water, such as lakes or oceans, into streams to spawn. If the passage routes to these streams are blocked through human construction, or if the energetic cost of migrating this route has increased too much, this can disrupt spawning and ultimately result in fewer fish in the next generation.
Migratory fishes are a major food source for many people around the world. Therefore, it is important to balance the alteration of waterways to promote human activities with maintaining adequate passage of valuable migratory fishes. Part of this balance includes considerations of facilitating passage of desirable migratory fishes while also preventing the spread of undesirable fishes, such as invasive species.
Looking to contribute, participate, or get involved in WFMD? This year, the celebration falls on April 21, 2018. Organizers are still looking for volunteers to plan, organize, or execute events around the globe that can contribute to raising awareness about the importance of open rivers and free routes for desirable migrating fishes.
For events that are already scheduled, possible event ideas, or for more information, visit www.worldfishmigrationday.com.