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Forum on Fish Protection and Downstream Fish Migration


Forum on Fish Protection and Downstream Fish Migration

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) organized the forum on Fish Protection and Downstream Fish Migration for the next 3 years as part of a R&D project of the Environmental Research Plan of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). Ecologic Institute provides content and organizational support for the forum on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency. The forum includes members from federal and regional water resource management authorities, NGOs, consultancies, water managers and hydropower.

The issue of fish protection and downstream fish migration, both from an environmental policy perspective and a technical point of view, has gained increasing attention in recent years. The Federal Environment Agency with the support from the Ecologic Institute established the Forum "Fish Protection and Downstream Migration", a Forum that will span the next 3 years. This project is funded within the framework of the German Environmental Research Plan.

The Forum is aimed at triggering a wide-ranging discussion and information exchange and to develop a common understanding on the latest scientific information and technology on different themes of fish protection and downstream migration.


So far, the goal of the EC Water Framework Directive - the good ecological status- has been reached in less than 10% of all European rivers. The reason for this is mostly based on the poor state of fish populations due to a limited watercourse connectivity. In addition, different pressures from users result in direct damage to fish. Therefore, almost the entire river network needs measures to improve the upstream and downstream flow watercourse connectivity. Downstream migration is particularly controversial from an environmental policy point of view as well as for technical reasons. At the same time legal requirements lead to a pressure to act. The issues that emerge from the discussion on fish protection and downstream migration are numerous and require both environmental policy and technical answers.

Project content

Within the Forum, existing problems will be identified, initial solutions will be proposed and the demand of research and action will be formulated. The Forum will have an opening event and a closing conference and will be centered on five thematic key topics which will be explored during the five workshops.

The core issues in connection with the problem of fish protection and downstream migration are:

  • Environmental policy and legal framework
  • River basin-related strategies
  • Behavioral and population biology
  • Technical measures for fish protection and downstream migration
  • Additional protection measures and monitoring