Get Email Updates

Celebrate World Fish Migration Day May 21

On Saturday, May 21, we celebrate the second annual World Fish Migration Day. This is a global initiative with more than 350 events scheduled worldwide, all geared toward creating awareness of the importance of migratory fish and the river systems that they depend upon for survival.

In the Greater Atlantic Region, we have 12 species of sea-run fish that migrate between rivers and the ocean. Three species are listed under the Endangered Species Act: Atlantic salmon (endangered, listed in 2009), Atlantic sturgeon (threatened, listed in 2012), and shortnose sturgeon (endangered, listed in 1967). Three species are NOAA Species of Concern: alewife, blueback herring, and rainbow smelt. The other six, Atlantic tomcod, American shad, American eel, striped bass, sea lamprey, and sea-run brook trout, have also experienced declines.

Spending a portion of their lives in freshwater and a portion of their lives in the ocean, sea run fish support a healthy, living freshwater and nearshore marine ecosystem. Herring species such as alewives, blueback herring, and American shad mature at sea and along New England’s coast before making a mad dash up rivers and streams to spawn. With numbers that once ranged well into millions, herring brought with them scores of larger predatory fish that sought them out as prey, such as cod, haddock, and striped bass. 

Today, these fish need our help. Much of their historical access to spawning habitat has been impeded by dams or other obstructions. Removing dams and constructing effective fish passages are important for returning these fish to their former abundance.


Kenduskeag Stream Walk

When: Friday, May 20, 8:00am - 9:00am
Where: Victory Memorial at Norumbega Parkway (between Franklin and Central streets), Bangor, ME

Downtown Bangor is fortunate enough to have the beautiful Kenduskeag Stream travel right through the center of town, and what better way to celebrate the kick off of World Fish Migration Day than a 4 mile walk along the banks of the Kenduskeag. Led by Fisheries Biologist Pete Ruksznis with Maine Department of Marine Resources, and accompanied by author of The President’s Salmon, Catherine Schmitt, this walk will talk about the biological and historical importance of sea-run fish in the state of Maine.

Contact: Sarah Bailey (NOAA Fisheries), 207-866-7262,; Catherine Schmitt (Maine Sea Grant),

World Fish Migration Day Kick-Off Celebration

When: Friday, May 20, 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Where: Sea Dog Brewing Co, 26 Front Street, Bangor, ME

Have you ever wanted to ask a fish biologist a question but have been looking for the right opportunity? Look no further! The 2016 World Fish Migration Day Kick-Off Celebration is the perfect opportunity to come “talk fish” with people that work every day toward researching and conserving sea-run fish populations in the state of Maine.

Contact: Sarah Bailey (NOAA Fisheries), 207-866-7262,

Meet the Eels of Rockport’s Millbrook Pond

When: Saturday, May 21, 11:00am - 1:00 pm
Where: Millbrook Meadow, off of Beach Street, Rockport MA

NOAA Fisheries biologist Eric Hutchins with eel caught at Millbrook.

Come see the eels as they migrate through Millbrook Pond in Rockport, MA. With the help of the Millbrook Meadow Conservancy and Rockport High School students, NOAA Fisheries Biologists Colleen Coogan and Eric Hutchins will provide a tour of Rockport, Massachusetts’ historic Millbrook Meadow and Pond. Members of the public will be introduced to elvers (American eels) at the beach, as they enter the brook after traveling over 1,000 miles from the Sargasso Sea. Eels will be located and displayed temporarily in tanks within the Millbrook Meadow. Specimen eels will be available for young investigators and artists to inspect. Human impacts on the brook, first settled by European-Americans in 1699, will be discussed, highlighting the importance of rivers in early settlements for drinking, watering gardens, energy production and waste disposal. Ongoing efforts to restore the brook will be discussed, with a show-and-tell of the new fish ladder on a rebuilt dam. Attendees will learn about the many challenges to resident and visiting eels, rainbow smelt, and other migratory diadromous fish populations trying to make their way between fresh and saltwater habitats. Special thanks to the Toad Hall Bookstore, which donated funds to build the eel monitoring trap and monitoring supplies.

Sandy Hook Laboratory Open House

When: Sunday, May 22, 11am-3pm
Where: James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, 74 Magruder Road, Highlands, NJ

As part of Ocean Fun Day and World Fish Migration Day, staff at the Sandy Hook Lab will have a live fish display in the lab’s 32,000-gallon research aquarium.  The one-day display is a joint project with the American Littoral Society and will feature river herring from a habitat restoration site at Wreck Pond in Spring Lake, New Jersey, funded by federal, state and local governments. More information.

Little River Restoration Dedication

When: Monday, May 23, 10am
Where: 372 Essex Avenue, Gloucester, MA

The City of Gloucester along with its local, state, and federal partners invites one and all to the Little River Restoration Dedication Ceremony. More details to come.