LONDON — Nearly a 3rd of all freshwater fish species are threatened by extinction, based on a brand new report launched by 16 conservation teams on Tuesday.
“The World’s Forgotten Fishes” says that 80 freshwater species — which make up greater than half of all of the world’s species — have already been declared extinct, with 16 disappearing in 2020 alone.
Migratory populations have declined by greater than three-quarters for the reason that 1970s, whereas populations of bigger species, weighing greater than 60 kilos, have fallen by an much more “catastrophic” 94 %, it stated.
While freshwater fish are vital for the wholesome functioning of the world’s rivers, lakes and wetlands, hundreds of thousands of individuals all over the world additionally depend upon them for meals safety and their livelihoods, together with in susceptible and indigenous communities. Their speedy decline may due to this fact put societies and economies throughout the globe in peril, the report stated.
Conservation teams behind the report, together with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Global Wildlife Conservation, level to a mixture of pressures on international freshwater fish populations, together with habitat degradation, damming and draining of rivers and wetlands, air pollution, introduction of invasive species, wildlife crime and the ever-increasing menace of local weather change.
Of greater than 10,000 species whose conservation standing has been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 30 % are thought-about vulnerable to extinction, the report stated.
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The research calls freshwater fish “undervalued,” with the WWF’s Stuart Orr saying freshwater fish are often forgotten in global debates about climate, biodiversity and global development.
“I think this report is 16 organizations coming together to highlight on the one hand the incredible diversity of freshwater fish species, but on the other hand remind people that these species are in decline and linked to a lot of food security, jobs and cultural services,” Orr instructed NBC News on the cellphone from Gland, Switzerland.
“As we look to adapt to climate change and we start to think about all the discussions that governments are going to have on biodiversity, it’s really a time for us to shine a light back on freshwater,” he added.
The report calls for an emergency recovery plan to reverse decades of decline by protecting and restoring natural river flows, water quality and critical habitats while undoing the harm caused by overfishing.
Orr said a United Nations biodiversity conference taking place in China later this year will be a chance for governments to talk about the crisis and, for the first time, pay just as much attention to protecting and restoring freshwater life support systems as the world’s forests and oceans.