Monitoring Thames Fish

Sea Bass Thames Fish

Between 2006 and 2013, ZSL monitored the fish populations in the Thames Estuary as part of a long term collaborative project with Tilbury Power Station and the Environment Agency. This long-term data set provides a crucial insight into how fish populations change over time, which we can relate to pollution incidents, the overall water quality of the Thames and natural fluctuations in fish populations. We also use this dataset to identify new or rare species visiting the Thames.  

Why we are there

The Thames Estuary supports over 120 different fish species, which are important both ecologically and economically. Since being declared “biologically dead” in the 1950’s, the environment has improved significantly and the Thames Estuary is now one of the world's most unpolluted metropolitan tideways. It is important to have long-term fish monitoring, so that we know what fish regularly occur in the Thames Estuary and can detect any changes in fish abundance or species composition. 

Tilbury Fish Monitoring

ZSL monitored the fish species passing through Tilbury Power station on a weekly basis, between 2006 and 2013. Analysis of this data is under way, and we will produce a number of reports on key fish species in the coming months.

World Fish Migration Day - 24th May 2014

World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) is a one day global initiative to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish. ZSL London Zoo will hold a special event along with the EA, IFM and FFSG where you can find out about migratory fish in the Thames estuary. Visitors to our special WFMD stand in the aquarium can learn all about migratory fish, get crafty by colouring in and can hear our tailor made ‘Big Fish’ talk. Read more about ZSL's event here.

Project information

Key species

  • Common smelt
  • sand goby
  • sprat
  • flounder
  • herring
  • sea bass
  • dover sole
  • whiting
  • European eel

Partners and sponsors

  • RWE nPower
  • Environment Agency