The Fish Migration River

Gepubliceerd op
22 februari 2013

Researchers at IMARES have contributed to the report on the feasibility of the Fish Migration River through the Afsluitdijk presented to Tineke Schokker, the provincial executive member for the province of Friesland at the end of January (chair of the steering group for 'The New Afsluitdijk').

The research, which was commissioned by the programme Naar een rijke Waddenzee (Towards a rich Wadden Sea), showed that the Fish Migration River is technically feasible and would contribute to the recovery of the fish stocks in the IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel) and the Wadden Sea.

Fish Migration River project

The Fish Migration River through the Afsluitdijk is an unique and ground-breaking nature restoration project project aimed at removing an obstacle for migratory fish. The participating parties want to give the fish the opportunity once again to reach their spawning areas and the areas in which they grow up and live. At the heart of the project is the construction of a new passage through the Afsluitdijk, embedded in a design that ensures a gradual transition from salt water to fresh water (and vice versa) and a natural structure.

The project is not only important for nature. It is also important for the fishing sector and for recreation on and around the Afsluitdijk. Construction of the Fish Migration River is planned to take place near the Kornwerderzand sluice complex.


Building with Nature

The Fish Migration River has the potential to become an important feat of hydraulic engineering on an international scale. No Fish Migration Rivers of this scale and situated in a delta region are to be found anywhere else in the world, so this would be a ground-breaking development on a global scale. This project could put the Netherlands at the forefront of hydraulic engineering once again.

The parties involved have the ambition to make this project a successful example of Building with Nature, like the 'Sand Motor' and the artificially constructed oyster reefs in the Eastern Scheldt.

The expertise of IMARES

The study was carried out by Fresco, Grontmij, IMARES Wageningen UR, the Government Service for Land and Water Management (Ministry of Economic Affairs), Wageningen Water Consult, Deltares, and Linkit Consult.

Representing IMARES Wageningen UR, Martin Baptist from the Ecosystems department was a member of the Werkgroep Natuur (nature working group) on the basis of his expertise in Ecoshape, a consortium of institutes and private enterprises occupied with Building with Nature.

Erwin Winter from the Fish department had an active involvement in the feasibility study due to his expertise in the field of fish migration.