South African Fish Swimway Programme

South African Fish Swimway Programme


South Africa has a wealth of socio-ecologically important aquatic ecosystems that all South Africans depend on. The wellbeing of ecosystem services, ecological processes and biodiversity of these systems are paramount to the sustainable use and protection of water resources, for all, forever.

Migratory fishes and the connectivity of healthy river ecosystems that these fishes depend on, are major components of our aquatic ecosystems. We need to give them more attention.

We need to understand and protect migratory fishes and the ecosystems they live in. And we need to show how and why these fish and their ecosystems are important for all South Africans. That is the mission of the South African Fish Swimway Programme.


Our Mission ?

Learn from international experiences, share knowledge, promote awareness, stimulate involvement and commitment from all stakeholders to use and manage river connectivity and fish migrations together.

Who are we ?

Many stakeholders have united with the World Fish Migration Foundation (WFMF) to develop a dedicated South African migratory fish and river ecosystem connectivity working programme titled: the South African Fish Swimway Programme !

The World Fish Migration Foundation is an international non-profit organisation who, with its international partners, aims to contribute towards protecting and conserving migratory fish, their ecosystems and the people who depend on them! Through projects that facilitate rehabilitation, ecosystem protection and communication on fish migration, they strive and ultimately look forward to:

  • Healthy migratory fish populations swimming in full abundance,
  • More free-flowing rivers,
  • Communities, specialists, industry and governments all working together to create a sustainable and happy environments for humans and fish.

This programme is currently being developed by a core international team in collaboration with key stakeholders. The first workshop was hosted in November 2015 to identify the current status and need for such a programme. Following the extremely positive response from stakeholders in South Africa, it was evident that indeed further steps needed to be taken to develop such a programme. This was initiated with a preliminary plan, which included the development of a vision for the Sabie River and a follow-up workshop with stakeholders. This report details the follow-up workshop, which took place after the South African Society of Aquatic Scientists (SASAqS) conference in Skukuza, South Africa. The workshop was chaired by Herman Wanningen from World Fish Migration Foundation.


need you

A network of stakeholders invested in the SA Fish Swimway Programme will be developed. This includes people representing a range of sectors. Here are some of the key representatives who we want to connect with:

Fishway monitoring experts, representatives from Environmental affairs (National and Provincial), representatives from CMAs, Universities, Fishway Engineers, Consultants, NGO’s, WRC, funding institutions, Icon to motivate people, local coordinator, SANParks, SANB, EWT, WISA, Water Affairs and Sanitation, fish enthusiasts, conservationists, regulators, managers, anglers, water users, scientists, school children and everyone else!

More information

Concept note


SA Fish Swimway Programme


Click here to read the concept document



workshop report




Fishway monitoring workshop, June 2016

Click here to read the report





News ?

November 2016 – Invitation to Swimway workshop in Pretoria

June 2016 – Workshop at annual SASAQS conference


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