Mention the world migration to non-angling member of the public and you will likely evoke in their mind’s eye images of huge herds of wildebeest or reindeer, sweeping magestically across plains or tundra, flocks of geese, or swallows heading south for winter. The likelihood is that very few would think of fish.
But one charity, the Wold Fish Migration Foundation, seeks to change that by organising a series of global events under the name World Fish Migration Day.
There are, of course, many types of migratory fish, and even among the angling community, we are probably guilty of focussing on a few superstar species: salmon, sea trout (sewin) and steelhead. But whole ecosystems, foodchains and human communities are built on fish migrations, whether that’s herring, tuna, sharks (did you know that some bull sharks migrate upstream!?), eels, shad, catfish or the humble three-spined stickleback.
Some migrate for food, some to reproduce, but all are threatened, whether from pollution, dams or over-exploitation by commercial fishing.
The importance of raising awareness of these species and their role in local and global ecosystems and economies cannot be overstated, which is why the WFMF’s work is so important. In 2016 they organised 300 events worldwide, bringing together people, and especially youngsters, to educate them about these remarkable fish, and how to protect them.
In addition to organising that global event, WFMF also run projects to locate and remove old and disused dams, re-connect river systems to the sea, and carry out important research.