Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

German Fish Ladder Allows Millionth Fish to Pass

Elbe fishbridge

Geestahacht fish ladder.  (photo source)

Europe’s largest fish ladder, located in Geesthacht in northern Germany, along the river Elbe recently recorded its one millionth user (source).  A burbot Lota lota.


The Geesthacht fish ladder was opened in September 2010.  Beel did some quick math.  On average, a fish ascends the ladder once every minute.

The Geesthacht fish ladder is 550 meters (1804 feet) long and 16 meters (52 feet) wide. To make passage, fish have to make their way through nearly 50 pools, each of which is about nine centimeters (3.5 inches) higher than the one before.

A description of the fish ladder, and its purposes, is presented here by Vattenfall, the Swedish energycompany that funded the structure. The fish ladder was built at a cost of 20 million euro (US$26.21 million), as a goodwill gesture following the construction of a new coal power plant at Moorburg, 35 kilometers downstream from the Geesthacht weir area.

Vattenfall, evidently felt the need to buy some goodwill after taking Germany before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an institution of the World Bank.  Evidently, German environmental concerns, about a project to be constructed in Germany, threatened the Swedish company’s plans (source).  How inconsiderate of the Germans, says Beel!

So, back to the fish ladder.  How do they know that lucky burbot was the one millionth fish?  Scientists from the Institute of Applied Ecology in Marschacht catch fish as they ascend the ladder, identify and record them, check their passports and visas, and then release them into the river. To date, 45 species have been identified in the ladder (source).  So, wonders Beel, is this what scientists do?

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This entry was posted on January 12, 2013 by in Commentary, Conservation and tagged , , .
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