Connection: many guardians

The Fish Migration River Afsluitdijk is an innovative program with an international allure in which fishermen, nature conservation organizations and local governments are working together in the field of nature restoration through free fish migration. The joint project also has another essential task: making the Afsluitdijk future-proof.

The design of the Fish Migration River Afsluitdijk is based on a joint idea of nature conservationists and local fishermen. The final initiative is a joint venture by the Wadden Society, It Fryske Gea, Het Blauwe Hart, the Society of Fixed-Gear Fishermen in the northern Netherlands and the Dutch Sports-fishing Association. Local, regional and national government bodies have fully embraced the project and are now acting as development- and implementation partners within the framework of the De Nieuwe Afsluitdijk or DNA (The New Afsluitdijk). These are the provinces of Noord-Holland and Friesland and the municipalities of Hollands Kroon, Southwest-Friesland and Harlingen. They are working in close collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat (Department of Public Works), which has the task of bringing the Afsluitdijk to a delta-level. In this way, the project is already shielded by a large number of ‘guardians’.


Al these organizations share their concern for nature for the Wadden region, the area surrounding the IJsselmeer region, and the fish populations in both these areas. The parties have noticed decreasing numbers of fish populations from year to year, and this is not only bad for our natural environment, but also for the economy and the tourism & recreation industry. Working together in this initiative, they aim to adopt  a high-quality design forthe Afsluitdijk, which will meet important standards for safety and freshwater supply, but will also enhance the potential for nature and recreation. All parties involved share the ambition to make the project “Fish Migration River Afsluitdijk” a successful showcase of modern day eco-engineering. The project should be an international example for contemporary coastal- and delta management.

Integral management

In combination with the fish-friendly drainage- and sluice management of Rijkswaterstaat, the Fish Migration River Afsluitdijk will ensure a recovery of the ecological balance. This will mean that all the fish species that migrate towards the Afsluitdijk, will be able to gain access to the IJsselmeer and the rivers surrounding it. In this way, the collaboration between Rijkswaterstaat and the initiators of the Fish Migration River Afsluitdijk is ensuring the return of a major natural fish migration route  running through the Netherlands and thus forming a connection between Europe and the world’s oceans.