May 24th, 2014, marks the first ever World Fish Migration Day—a day created to raise awareness about the great diversity of migratory freshwater fish species, their importance, and the many threats to their populations and ecosystems.
Migratory freshwater fish occur worldwide and include many familiar species. And while diadromous fish (fish that move between freshwater and the ocean to complete their life cycle—like salmon) are the most conspicuous group, migratory behavior is relatively common in freshwater fish. Fifty-five per cent of Canadian freshwater fish and up to seventy percent of Mekong food fish are thought to be migratory. Many of the fish we see or hear about on a daily basis—salmon, sturgeon, shad, freshwater sharks, rays, Mekong catfish, and eels—depend on migration for survival.
The dynamic nature of migratory stocks presents unique challenges, requiring management of both habitat and species at the local, national, and often international level. While the basic management principles for migratory fish are similar to those for other aquatic animals, the situation for migratory species is more complicated, often involving long distances, many different stakeholders, a variety of cultures and motivations, and several life stages of the species or stock in question.
World Fish Migration day seeks to bring attention to the importance of these fish, and raise awareness of the delicate balance many migratory fish face to survive in our modern world. Here are photos of some of Earth’s more remarkable migratory freshwater fish.
World Fish Migration Day: Connecting Fish, Rivers, and People