Global migratory freshwater fish populations plummet by 81%: Report

Global migratory freshwater fish populations plummet by 81%: Report

A new global report reveals a stark reality: populations of migratory freshwater fish species, including salmon, trout, eel and sturgeon, are declining dramatically. The report, published by a coalition of international conservation organizations, shows an average 81% decrease in these fish populations between 1970 and 2020. “The catastrophic decline in migratory fish populations is a deafening wake-up call for the world,” said Herman Wanningen, founder of the World Fish Migration Foundation and one of the authors of the report. “We must act now to save these keystone species and their rivers.” The Living Planet Index (LPI) report for migratory freshwater fishes analyzed data from 1,864 populations of 284 migratory freshwater fish species across the globe. Contributing to the report were researchers from the World Fish Migration Foundation, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wetlands International and WWF. The researchers found that fish populations had declined significantly more in some regions than in others. For example, Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the most severe decrease at 91%, while Europe saw a 75% decline. North America showed a 35% decrease, and Asia-Oceania reported a 28% decline. Data for Africa were limited, making it difficult to determine conclusive trends for that continent. Snorkeler with cape kurper (Sandelia capensis) in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Shelton. Migratory freshwater fish are species that move between different habitats to complete their life cycles, and can include fish that migrate within freshwater systems,…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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