News – UK – Extinction: Freshwater fish in “catastrophic” decline

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A report warns of a “catastrophic” decline in freshwater fish, nearly a third of which are critically endangered

Conservation groups said 80 species were extinct, 16 in the last year alone

Millions of people rely on freshwater fish for food and a source of income from fishing and pet trading

But the numbers have declined due to pressures like pollution, unsustainable fishing, and the damming and draining of rivers and wetlands

According to the report, migrant fish populations have declined by three quarters over the past 50 years

During the same period, populations of larger species known as “megafish” have plummeted 94%

The Forgotten Fish of the World report was written by 16 conservation groups including WWF, the London Zoological Society (ZSL), Global Wildlife Conservation and The Nature Conservancy

In British waters the sturgeon and burbot have disappeared, the salmon is disappearing and the European eel remains critically endangered

According to the WWF, much of the decline is due to the poor condition of rivers, which is mainly due to pollution, dams and sewage

She has urged the government to restore freshwater habitat health through the proper enforcement of existing laws, strengthen protection in environmental law, and advocate a number of strong global goals for the restoration of nature

Dave Tickner of WWF said freshwater habitats are some of the most vibrant in the world, but – as this report shows – they are in catastrophic decline worldwide

“Nature is in free fall and Britain is no exception: wildlife struggles to survive, let alone thrive, in our polluted waters,” said the Organization’s chief advisor on freshwater

“If we are to take this government’s environmental promises seriously, they have to pull themselves together, clean up our rivers and restore our freshwater habitats to health”

Carmen Revenga of The Nature Conservancy said freshwater fish are a diverse and unique group of species that are not only essential to the healthy functioning of our rivers, lakes and wetlands, but also depend on them by millions of people, especially the poor are for their food and income

“It is now more urgent than ever that we find the collective political will and effective collaboration with the private sector, governments, NGOs and communities to implement nature-based solutions that protect freshwater species while ensuring that human needs are met become”She said

Dr Jeremy Biggs of the Freshwater Habitats Trust said that to protect freshwater biodiversity, we need to consider bodies of water both large and small and protect all of our freshwater: ponds, lakes, streams and rivers

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Freshwater fish, extinction, threatened species

News – GB – Extinction: Freshwater fish in “catastrophic” decline
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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56160756