Alex Ball, Community Engagement Manager tells us about the recent trip.
On a damp afternoon in late September project staff headed off to Portugal to meet up with colleagues from MARE (Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre) who have been working to unlock barriers to migratory fish for a number of years on the Mondego River. We flew into Faro airport and on the first morning of our visit with headed north some 400km to meet our hosts in Pombal.
We visited a fish rock ramp at Penacova and then it really hit home how the fish pass structures and the forces at work in the river are quite extreme – it is definitely a tough life being a shad!
The sunshine was lovely as we headed along the river valley and took another opportunity to view a fish pass (of the natural rock variety). This time there was a kayak pass next to the fish pass, plus also a bridge for walkers and leisure visits, over the river at Carvoeira.
The first day ended with the high point of the visit (for me anyway) – which was seeing the viewing gallery of the major deep vertical slot fish pass at Coimbra. It was really valuable to see the gallery, including measuring the dimensions of the space. It was fascinating to see the behaviour of the fish (mainly grey mullet) on the other side of the glass, many peering back at us. It was the sort of space you could spend a lot of time, communing with nature!
Thanks to our great hosts for an amazing tour and sharing their knowledge. We look forward to some joint activities on World Fish Migration Day on 16th May 2020.