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FAO joins global campaign on migratory fish

Migrating fish species have suffered for centuries from human activities in their natural environment, namely rivers and lakes. Different manmade obstacles have interrupted natural migration paths of fishes that evolved over millions of years. 21 April is World Fish Migration Day, channeling the issue into the international agenda.

“World Fish Migration Day raises awareness and promotes action all around the Globe for the benefit of migratory fishes and those communities which depend on them for food, sport, and tourism!” said Petri Heinimaa, Chairman of the European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission (EIFAAC), a regional fishery body of FAO. Salmon, sturgeon and eel are the flagship species for European rivers, as they are both highly valuable and endangered fishes that desperately need better access to natural ecosystems during their lifecycle. In this regard, EIFAAC supports the World Fish Migration Day 2018!

Competition for limited freshwater resources, which will only increase in the face of climate change, has influenced the amount and quality of water available in inland waterbodies that are crucial habitat for these fishes.

Past activities of the WFMD have led to dam and weir removal that created open rivers for migratory fishes to reproduce. In those areas where the rivers, no matter how small, are still running free, today is the moment to stop and rethink plans to build new dams for electricity or to divert scarce freshwater resources for agriculture that will negatively impact on healthy river and lake ecosystems that naturally reproduce fish stocks.

“Competing uses of inland waterbodies reduces livelihoods and food supply of riparian communities dependent on inland fisheries,” commented Victoria Chomo, senior FAO fisheries and aquaculture officer, Secretary of the Commission. Angler associations and marine sport fishers in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea also depend on healthy stocks of migratory fish that use European rivers during part of their lifecycles.

In this regard, FAO is organizing a scientific conference jointly with EUROFISH for the Europe and Central Asia region. The event entitled “Habitat restoration for inland fisheries in the Danube basin and adjacent Black Sea areas” will take place in November 2018 in Romania.

20 April 2018, Budapest, Hungary

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