The Dutch just gave the canal fish a “fish doorbell” (no, we’re not kidding)

Things are about to become great for fish in the Netherlands, as the city of Utrecht launches the first fish doorbell in the world. 

An underwater camera placed at the Weerdsluis films the fish as they wait in front of the lock gate, a device that raises and lowers boats between stretches of water of different levels.

Utrecht’s residents, watching the forming fish jams via a live stream, can press a digital doorbell to give the local keeper a signal when fish arrive. 

The fish doorbell is another one of Utrecht’s projects which educate the city’s residents about the rich and diverse life in the waters of the local canals, reports AD

A highway for fish

The doorbell plays an important role in allowing the fish to migrate between the warmer, deeper waters in the winter and more shallow waters where they reproduce in summer. 

“You have to see the Oudegracht as a motorway for fishing. Sometimes you see literally dozens of fish floundering in front of the lock gate, so a fish jam is created,” says the underwater nature expert Mark van Heukelum. 

See the fish doorbell in action below (in Dutch): 

Utrecht’s urban ecologist Anne Nijs is enthusiastic about the project. “Not only is it of great importance for the fish, but it is also a great way to teach Utrecht residents more about life in our canals,” she says.

The important question

The residents will be able to observe large pikes, lobsters, and basses, among others. Why did the city decide to go for a digital doorbell instead of an automatic sensor? Because it’s a lot more fun, of course. 

So much so, that this fish live stream may very well become the new Netflix in Utrecht. Play some dramatic music in the background or David Attenborough’s narration while watching and you suddenly have a whole documentary. “I am already addicted to it myself and watch it every night,” says Van Heukelum. 

How do you like this idea of a fish doorbell? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: John Werner/Unsplash

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.


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