Tasked with helping to ensure that Utrecht’s canals stay alive and convincing everyone that this was not an April Fool’s Day joke, two environmentalists from the Dutch city have invented the world’s first “fish bell” .
A live-streaming underwater camera at the “Weerdsluis” lock door allows residents to ring a virtual doorbell heard by the local lock keeper when they see fish trying to pass.
A lock is a door that raises or lowers canal boats to different water levels separated by two doors, and a lock is a small, fish-sized door that allows water (and fish) to pass between them.
“You have to see the Oudegracht (the canal) as a highway for fishing. Sometimes you see literally dozens of fish hovering in front of the lock door, creating a fish jam, ”says underwater nature expert Mark van Heukelum.
“The Weerdsluis is the link between the Vecht and the Kromme Rijn. In winter the fish swim deeper, it is warmer and safer there. In summer they want to go to shallow waters to be able to reproduce ”, he adds, according to AD.
Van Heukelum came up with the idea for the doorbell when, while working with wildlife ecologist Anne Nijs on a project to highlight biodiversity in Utrecht’s canals, they noticed how lock keeper Patrick opened the hatch to allow a large group of fish that came to pass.
Nijs says it’s a great way to connect residents with their aquatic neighbors, noting that when Mark brought the idea to the municipality, they were very excited. The only uncertainty was why create a camera and signal for Patrick when they could only install a motion-activated sensor.
Van Heukelum explains, “Technically, that’s probably possible, but of course this is a lot more fun,” he says. “I am already addicted to it and I see it every night. Suddenly you see a large pike swimming or a lobster. It would be nice if you could see a rarer fish, like a creeper or shady. Or maybe an eel. “
If you want to get addicted to watching fish swim in a canal in the Netherlands, you can watch the live broadcast here.
(LOOK a video, in Dutch, to see how the doorbell works below).
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