About 80 species have gone extinct, 16 in the last year alone, according to conservation groups. Now, another species is set to make the list.
Freshwater fish population has plummeted due to pollution, unsustainable fishing, damming and draining of rivers and wetlands. Add to that the pressure of millions of people relying on it as food and source of income.
In the last 50 years, the populations of migratory fish have fallen by three-quarters, and the populations of larger species, known as “megafish” have plummeted by 94%.
The report, titled The World’s Forgotten Fishes, was prepared by 16 conservation groups including WWF, the London Zoological Society (ZSL), Global Wildlife Conservation and The Nature Conservancy.
WWF has called on the government to restore freshwater habitats to good health through proper enforcement of laws, strengthening protections of flaur and fauna, and championing a strong ste of global targets for the recovery of nature.
“Nature is in freefall and the UK is no exception: wildlife struggles to survive, let alone thrive, in our polluted waters,” said Dave Tickner, WWF chief adviser on freshwater. “If we are to take this government’s environmental promises seriously, it must get its act together, clean up our rivers and restore our freshwater habitats in good health.”
The Nature Conservancy’s Carmen Revenga said freshwater fish is not only essential for healthy bodies of water, but millions of people, particularly the poor, also depend on them for food and income.
“It’s now more urgent than ever that we find the collective political will and effective collaboration with private sector, governments, NGOs and communities, to implement nature-based solutions that protect freshwater species, while also ensuring human needs are met,” she said.
You might want to read:
– 36 species declared extinct in 2020, including 15 freshwater fish from Mindanao – IUCN
– Less than a thousand left: Updated list of animals near extinction
– 40% insect extinction: Why and what does it mean for us?