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World Fish Migration Day 2022

May 13, 2022

Join us in celebrating World Fish Migration Day 2022! Learn more about how NOAA helps migratory fish and communities by opening or improving access to river and stream habitat.

750x500shutterstock_666342400_04272019.jpg Atlantic salmon leaps upstream. Credit: Shutterstock

May 21, 2022 is World Fish Migration Day—a global celebration to raise awareness on the importance of free flowing rivers and migratory fish. Take a look at these features to learn how we work to address barriers to fish migration and open their passage ways.

Fish Migration Features

Storymap: Explore West Coast Salmon Murals

Through our  Science in Studio program, NOAA Fisheries worked with ecomuralist Esteban Camacho Steffensen  to put a spotlight on the magnetism and plight of Pacific salmon. 

Explore the storymap and check out salmon stewardship through public art

This mural by Esteban Camacho Steffensen has been painted in schools and other locations in California, Oregon and Washington.

Fish Passage Inspired by Nature on the Cape Fear River, North Carolina

To improve fish passage, Cape Fear River Watch and partners have made a series of upgrades to a fishway originally designed to mimic natural river habitat.

Learn more about improving fish passage on the Cape Fear River

Aerial view of before and after photo of the original nature-like fishway at Cape Fear Lock and Dam Number 1 (2013) and modified nature-like fishway. (2021)
Aerial view of the original nature-like fishway at Cape Fear Lock and Dam Number 1 in 2013, and the modified nature-like fishway in 2021. The red lines indicate the rock arches constructed below the crest of the dam structure. The red circles indicate the staggered pools which form three pathways through the fishway. Credit: U.S. Army Corps and Cape Fear River Watch.

Decades of Dam Removals Help Fish Reach their Homes in Historic Plymouth

Take a virtual walk along Town Brook in Massachusetts to see fish passage projects that have reopened the stream, giving migrating herring and eel new access to restored habitats.

Take a tour of decades of dam removals

River Herring
Herring swim underwater in Town Brook. Photo: Keith Ellenbogen

Reopening Rivers to Migratory Fish in the Northeast

Our interactive story map highlights how NOAA and partners’ work reopening rivers in the Northeast helps benefit fisheries and communities.

Explore the story map

Aerial view of construction equipment removing a dam from a stream
Removal of Holmes Dam on Town Brook in Plymouth, Massachusetts. (Credit: Hawk Visuals)

Record Number of Fish Migrate through Columbia Fishway in South Carolina

An estimated 5,000 American shad passed through the Columbia Fishway on the Broad River in South Carolina during a 10-week monitoring period this spring.

Record number of fish migrate through Columbia Fishway in South Carolina

The Columbia Diversion Dam in the Broad River, South Carolina.
The Columbia Diversion Dam in the Broad River. Credit: City of Columbia.

Restoring Habitat for Migratory Fish: A Look Back at the Recovery Act—Part 2

Salmon, river herring, and other migratory fish species continue to benefit from habitat restoration projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Learn more about restoring habitat for migratory fish

alewife_credit Chesapeake Bay Program_750x500.jpg
River herring. Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program.

What Happens After Dam Removals

Collaborative research on Penobscot dam removals show initial gains from restoration actions.

Learn more about what happens after dam removals

An Atlantic salmon swims in the viewing box at the Milford fish lift, with river herring in the background.
An Atlantic salmon makes her way through the Milford Fish Lift and upriver to spawn in the Penobscot. The Nature Conservancy, C. Daigle, 2014.

Removing Dams and Replacing Culverts: Opening Up Miles of Habitat for Fish Migration

Oil spill settlement-funded projects opened up a river and streams, and restored wetland habitat in two northeast states. Fish haven't been able to access some of these areas for hundreds of years.

Learn more about projects to open up miles of habitat for fish migration

An excavator demolishing a dam.
Construction equipment removing the Horseshoe Mill Dam on the Weweantic River.

Reopening Rivers for Migratory Fish

Every year, millions of fish migrate to their native habitats to reproduce. They are often blocked from completing their journey. When fish can’t reach their habitat, their populations can’t grow.

Learn how we work to reopen rivers for migratory fish


Barriers to Fish Migration

One reason fish populations struggle is that barriers prevent them from reaching the upstream habitat where they breed and grow.

Learn why fish migration is important and what we’re doing to help

Before removal, the Tack Factory Dam in Norwell, MA

Improving Fish Migration at Hydropower Dams

When barriers such as hydropower dams block fish from migrating, their populations decline. Through its authorities under the Federal Power Act, NOAA Fisheries improves habitat by addressing fish passage at non-federal hydropower dams.

Learn how these efforts help recover threatened and endangered migratory fish and support the sustainability of economically important commercial and recreational fisheries

1_John Day Dam fishway 2.jpg
John Day Dam fishway

Successful Fish Passage Efforts Across the Nation

Through multiple programs and partnerships, NOAA Fisheries is leading the charge to open our nation’s rivers and streams by providing fish passage solutions.

Learn more about the benefits of opening rivers for fish and communities across the nation

Baker Lake Floating Surface Collector.JPG
A Floating Surface Collector in Baker Lake, Washington.


The Value of Opening Rivers for Fish

Millions of fish are blocked from reaching their native habitat to reproduce each year. These fish are crucial to the economy and communities across the nation.

Learn how NOAA helps migratory fish and communities by opening river and stream habitat



Open Rivers, Abundant Fish

This video explores the journeys of migratory fish from ocean to freshwater streams, which are often blocked by barriers like dams. NOAA is helping to remove these barriers and open passage upstream, so that fish can reach their spawning  grounds.