IUCN's new Red List reports alarming decline in global freshwater fish species

Freshwater fish species globally are under grave threat according to the latest edition of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List. In fact, over half of Japan’s endemic freshwater fishes and more than a third of freshwater fishes in Mexico were threatened with extinction, the list of threatended species released on July 18, 2019, said.

The main reasons behind this were the usual suspects, namely loss of free-flowing rivers and agricultural and urban pollution. It was revealed recently that two-thirds of the world’s great rivers no longer flow freely. Another noteworthy factor was competition with and predation by invasive alien species of fish.

“The world’s freshwater fish species, which number almost 18,000, are undergoing a dramatic and largely unrecognised global decline, as made apparent in the high levels of extinction threat to freshwater fish species in Japan and Mexico,” William Darwall, head of the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit, was quoted as saying in a press statement by the IUCN.

“The loss of these species would deprive billions of people of a critical source of food and income, and could have knock-on effects on entire ecosystems. To halt these declines, we urgently need policies on the human use of freshwaters that allow for the needs of the many other species sharing these ecosystems.”

Source: Down to Earth, 19 July 2019