Global Swimways

20th May 2020

‘Global Swimways – balancing conservation of migratory fishes and development’, a CCI Collaborative fund project, was launched to positive feedback at the American Fisheries Society symposium in Reno USA last year.  A swimway is a path used in fish migration, and they may be threatened by human activity such as dam building. Global Swimways is serving to bring together partners in a genuinely constructive way, to evaluate the potential ecological impact on migratory fish species from the worldwide proliferation of dams. This is the first step toward connecting fish, rivers and people globally.

In February this year, Swimways was a side-event at the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) COP 13 in India. Jointly organised by IUCN and WCMC, this event was used to introduce the Swimways concept and the web viewer developed by WCMC ( There was a fantastic response and a great deal of interest, with the CMS Secretariat welcoming the initiative and noting potential synergies between this work and the proposed Global Atlas on Migration. IUCN will be working with Marco Barbieri on integrating freshwater fish swimways into the atlas. There will also be a follow-up by World Fish Migration Foundation with the Dutch CMS representative on possibilities for collaboration.

Going forward this CCI Collaborative project will be undertaking spatial analysis of dams and migratory fishes and will also be developing the Story Map for publicising Global Swimways.

Most recently Swimways was the focus of the highly innovative 24 hour marathon webinar, organised by our project partner the World Fish Migration Foundation with contributions from other partners.

To date, the project has been greatly appreciated by all involved, as for a long time there has been a recognised need to work on the subject of migratory freshwater fish and the threats from habitat fragmentation, in particular due to dams. Project meetings have brought together other interested parties including Zoological Society of London and the University of Reno, Nevada.  A number of bilateral meetings have also taken place between the project partners and a range of stakeholders.

For further information about this project please go to:

CMS COP 13 Global migration atlas side event: Becky Price (WCMC) presenting Swimways at the CMS side-event on the Atlas of Animal Migrations