The fish doorbell might be the biggest and most innocent sensation online in recent years but sadly it’s being turned off for now.
For those who missed it, the Fish Doorbell was an ecology project set up by water authorities in Utrecht, which relied on viewers from all over the world to help fish pass through the city. Basically, stream viewers could watch as fish gathered at a lock and then alert the guard there to open the gate for them to pass.
The fish species you see in the photo above are the same ones being helped by this project – and more info on the project below.
An image from the fish doorbell livestream in on June 30th, 2023
Since its launch in 2021, the Netherlands fish doorbell project gathered more than 1 million users from around the world, who visited the website 8.2 million times and rang the bell for the fish more than 100,000 times. Unfortunately, if you missed it, you’ll still miss it until next March. Because the fish migration is over, the project has been turned off this Friday and will reopen next March. If you do want to see just why so many people tuned in, check out the #fishdoorbell hashtag on social media, it’s a treat!
From a Guardian report:
“Something fishy is happening in the Netherlands and viewers worldwide are hooked. No, this isn’t the latest voyeuristic reality series from the creators of Big Brother and The Traitors. It’s a charmingly innocent live stream which lets you ring a doorbell on behalf of some frisky fish. For the past three migration seasons, an online feed has broadcast live footage from an underwater camera at a lock to the west of Utrecht. Every spring, thousands of fish swish through the Netherlands’ fourth-largest city, seeking shallow waters in which to lay their eggs. Some swim all the way to Germany, like piscine Adam Peatys. Slight snag: they often have to wait at the Weerdsluis lock, which seldom opens at this time of year.
Local ecologists came up with an ingenious solution: the world’s first fish doorbell or visdeurbel in Dutch (try saying it out loud). If webcam watchers spot fish waiting to pass, they simply press a virtual doorbell and the lock keeper — who can’t see down into the water, which is 2.1 metres (7ft) deep, from dry land — is sent a notification. When enough fish have gathered, the operator opens the 200-year-old sluice gate by hand to let them through. It enables professionals and the public to work together around the clock, ensuring fish don’t have to wait too long. Like a marine midwife or damp doula, you can help them reach their spawning sites unscathed. It means they’re less likely to fall victim to predators such as herons, cormorants and grebes (boo! baddies!).”
The official website of this project is here.