Ring the fish doorbell to help fish migrate!

Here’s how you ring the fish doorbell to help fish migrate.

Ring the fish doorbell!

It’s springtime, and fish in the Netherlands are swimming upstream to their spawning grounds. But in the city of Utrecht, a boat lock is keeping the fish from reaching their destinations. That’s where you come in. There’s a camera at the bottom of the boat lock that livestreams the activity there. Watch the livestream, and when you see a fish, ring the doorbell! That will alert the lock operator to open the lock and let the fish swim through.

The less time the fish have to wait at the lock, the more likely they are to survive to their spawning grounds. Otherwise, predators – such as grebes and cormorants – can dip down to dine on the fish as they pile up and wait for the lock to open.

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An underwater closeup of a fish apparently peering at the camera, surrounded by a yellow haze.
Knock, knock! This fish would like to pass through the lock in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Ring the fish doorbell to help the fish move on to its spawning grounds. Image via Fish Doorbell.

How to see the fish

Currently, the waters are still a bit cold, so not many fish are migrating. But that should change as spring warms up. The best time of day to spot a fish is at night or around dawn. That’s because it’s safer for fish to travel at night to avoid predators.

So when is night or dawn in the Netherlands? Right now, Utrecht is in Central European Summer Time, which is UTC +2. So, for example, in Utrecht the sun is rising around 6 a.m. at this time of year, which would be 11 p.m. CDT in the U.S.

Ecologists Anne Nijs and Mark van Heukelum post updates on the Fish Doorbell website. Their latest update reads:

It looks like the water clears up a bit. Last week we saw some nice sightings of carp, perch, eel and pike. The pike have finally started their migration. We saw mainly males so far, but also a beautiful shot of a male and female swimming next to each other. You can watch those back on the Fish Doorbell News Report.

Underwater closeup of a fish head end with an eyeball staring at the camera and a greenish background.
“Hey, you there. I know you can see me. Let me in!” Image via Fish Doorbell.

Livestreaming the stream life

In these early spring days, there are more people watching the fish doorbell livestream than there are fish. At any one time, it appears there are hundreds of people watching the livestream. But at the moment, fish are scarce. If you want to see some of the fish (and birds and crabs!) they’ve caught on camera, check out their Nicest Photos web page.

Underwater closeup of a  bird with a long, curved neck and long sharp beak in murky water.
Uh-oh, there’s a predator hunting for fish! Image via Fish Doorbell.

Ding dong! Other fish doorbell benefits

The fish doorbell is not only important to the fish but to the quality of the rivers and canals. A healthy fish population plays a key role in keeping the water clean.

The fish doorbell is a project by the Municipality of Utrecht, Waterboard De Stichtse Rijnlanden and Water Authority Amstel, Gooi and Vecht. These groups want locals and visitors to realize how much life is in the famous Dutch canals. And the images from the doorbell cam provide insight into the species and number of fish that use Utrecht’s waterways. All of this information can help to improve the water quality and freshwater marine life in these ecosystems.

Bottom line: Ring the fish doorbell to help fish migrating to their spawning grounds! The fish are stuck behind a lock in the Netherlands, but you can help.

Via Visdeurbel

May 7, 2024

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