Here’s some bad news for anglers and those who enjoy a fish meal. A recent study has found that nearly 40% of the freshwater fish to be found in North America are in serious trouble and if action is not taken to protect them, they may soon disappear. In 1989 there were 364 types of fish that were found to be in danger of disappearing. Today the number is 700, an increase of 92% in 19 years! These 700 types are broken up into:
230 are vulnerable to further dangerous decrease in their numbers
190 are facing a major threat to their existence and
380 are already seriously endangered.
In addition 61 types of fish are thought to now be extinct.
Out of all the fish listed as being in danger in 1989, 89% are either still at the same level of lost or are even more at risk. Conservation and awareness have resulted in the status of only 11% of the fish improving. And fish are not the only water creatures in danger. Freshwater crayfish, snails, and mussels are also declining in numbers and could soon be on an endangered list of their own.
Among those fish that are in danger are:
Salmon and trout found on the Pacific coast and the western mountain regions
Pupfish, goodeids and livebearers which are a large species common in the Southwest of the country and Mexico
Darters which inhabit the waters in the Southeastern parts of the country
Catfish, suckers and minnows which are prevalent through the US
Commonly found black bass, bluegill and rock bass
Perches and other members of this family found across the continent
And the most popular sports fish of all, the striped bass.
The regions most affected by the drop in fish numbers are the Southwest, the pacific coast and the Rio Grande regions.
Unless far greater and more serious attention is paid to the problem of declining fish populations, many of the fish we take for granted today, both for sport and for food will no longer be available to us. And that would be a real pity indeed!