The Happy Fish © is the ultimate symbol for people, organizations and projects that aim to recreate free migration for fish populations and the hope is that it will be incorporated into many special events that educate the public about the importance of fish migration.
The Happy Fish symbol will travel to unique fish passage projects across the world. The Happy Fish Europe symbol will start its travels in Berlin. From there it will travel to different locations and project sites in Europe, educating citizens in Europe about the importance of free fish migration.
Fish need to migrate!
Animals across the globe fly, swim, walk or drift in their effort to find places to breed, feed or just a more hospitable climate. Often unseen, but of major importance for functioning freshwater ecosystems, fish migrate and use rivers as natural highways. But most of them are blocked. Roughly 1.3 million obstructions in Europe hinder fish, and many other freshwater species, from their natural migration. Imagine a sky full of nets preventing birds from traveling to and from their wintering grounds.
Fish are normally not visible. Blocked pathways lead to the creeping loss of fish stocks hidden from the public view.
Millions of fish are killed each year on their natural migration. The majority of 25,000 hydroelectric power plants and the many 10,000’s of pumping stations across Europe are not properly screened. Thousands of them are poorly designed, not even allowing fish to find their way around or through them.
Many migratory fish are already critically endangered or locally extinct. It is time for a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration all anthropogenic impacts under an effective enforcement of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) to save our natural heritage, cultures, traditions, and preserve aquatic biodiversity.
Long-distance migratory species like the European eel, salmon and sturgeon are seriously depleted, or even close to the edge of extinction. Dozens of short-distance migratory species are also in alarming decline. Atlantic salmon, is regionally extinct or seriously depleted in many river systems across Europe.
Removing old and obsolete dams and other obstacles form rivers brings fish stocks back to live. Long overdue retrofitting with state-of-the-art technology pumps and turbines could help to protect migratory fish. Goals of European Directives lack in implementation. Therefore, we propose a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration all anthropogenic impacts under an effective enforcement of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC), the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC), and the Eel Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) 1100/2017). Help to make Fish Happy again!
We need to take action
- Enable fish to migrate!
- Remove old and obsolete dams from rivers
- Reduce the number of obstructions (1.3 million) that block migration pathways across Europe.
- Retrofit existing hydropower plants and pumping stations with state-of-the-art fish protection and fish passes
- Halt planning permissions for new small hydropower plants