Quarter of world’s freshwater fish at risk of extinction

Nearly a quarter of the world’s freshwater fish are at risk of extinction due to global heating, overfishing and pollution, according to an expert assessment.

Nearly a fifth of all threatened freshwater species are affected by climate change, from impacts such as falling water levels, shifting seasons and seawater moving up rivers. Of the assessed species, 3,086 out of 14,898 were at risk of vanishing.

“Freshwater fishes make up more than half of the world’s known fish species, an incomprehensible diversity given that freshwater ecosystems comprise only 1% of aquatic habitat. These diverse species are integral to the ecosystem, and vital to its resilience. This is essential to the billions of people who rely upon freshwater ecosystems, and the millions of people who rely on their fisheries,” said Kathy Hughes, co-chair of the IUCN species survival commission freshwater fish specialist group.