This Underwater Doorbell Camera Lets You Open the Door for Fish

Fish doorbell
The fish doorbell camera’s livestream.

A fish doorbell camera in Utrecht, the Netherlands has been captivating viewers all around the world who are looking out for any fish that need to pass through a boat lock in a Dutch canal.

The charming camera system has proven to be extremely popular with people as far away as the United States and New Zealand who studiously monitor the livestream in case any fish need to pass.

The doorbell project began in 2020 when Dutch authorities noticed fish gathered outside a boat lock which is an entrance to Utrecht’s canal system. The lock is closed in spring when the fish are attempting to travel upstream so they can spawn.

Rather than making a far more expensive fish ladder, the team in Utrecht installed an underwater camera to keep an eye out for fish trying to get past the lock. The camera broadcasts live and if a fish appears, someone watching can press the “doorbell” which alerts a worker to open a dam.

The fish doorbell website (or de visdeurbel in Dutch) has attracted over one million visitors since its launch but the live feed can only accommodate 950 people at one time. If you’re not one of the lucky 950 then you have to make do with the YouTube livestream which has no doorbell button to press if a fish does appear.

Stephanie Matlock, 40, from Mississippi, tells her TikTok followers the best time of day to see a fish on the livestream; it’s around sunrise or sunset Dutch time.

“We’re inundated with nothing but politics, hatred, bigotry, and anger for what seems like forever now,” Matlock tells The New York Times. “With the fish doorbell, you’re helping something that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to help.”

When the fish doorbell project was first tabled, local residents were skeptical, believing it to be some kind of joke. But it has defied everyone’s expectations and its creator, Mark van Heukelum, says it has helped over 6,300 fish pass through in just one year.

“Realizing that people from the U.S. or Australia or New Zealand are helping to get fish past a lock in the Netherlands, it’s such a strange idea,” van Heukelum tells The Times. “I am living on a cloud right now.”

Image credits: De Visdeurbel