As the global trends of species loss continue it is likely that the world will lose thousands of unique species before conservationist can complete the research needed and politicians act on the information. But instead of focusing on the big, obvious species here we decided to take a look at something else. The most endangered fish on the planet. Without decisive intervention these fish will be lost forever, and we all want to ensure that there will be toothcarp, croaker and huchen around for many years to come. So lets all learn about these great fish, and by sharing the story of their plight, help them to hopefully not be the next fish to go extinct.
Aci Göl toothcarp- Aphanius transgrediens
The tooth carp is a critically endangered species from the Lake Aci basin in Turkey. The small range of this fish has meant it is at high risk of extinction due to localised problems. The species is found no where else in the world and is restricted to an area less than 1km². With just a few hundred breeding pairs left in the world this species could be extinct within a decade without conservation action now. The major risk to the toothcarp is drought caused by climate change, but a proposed road development that would cut through the last remaining habitat are likely to cause even more imminent destruction.
Japnese huchen-Parahucho perryi Giant Yellow Croaker – Bahaba taipingensis
The Giant Yellow Croaker is a huge fish found off the coast of China. The fish spends most of its life close to the shore in shallow rocky areas but this has made it susceptible to fishing. These giant fish, sometimes up to 6ft long, have been overfished dramatically. The main reason is for their swim bladders which are used in traditional medicines. It is believed that ingesting the cured swim bladder can cure lung, and heart disease and also a general tonic for good health, but none of this has been proven. The number of these fish remaining in the wild is unclear but records show in the 1930’s over 50 tonnes of yellow croaker was caught. Now it makes headlines if even one is spotted. Unfortunately the croaker has received protection from most of China, but Hong Kong offers no protection to the fish and they are still highly prized here pushing them ever closer to extinction.
Japnese huchen-Parahucho perryi
The Japanese Huchen, also know as the Sakhalin taimen is a critically endangered species of the salmon family. As the name suggests they are found in Japanese rivers in Hokkaido. But also found in far Western Russia and some of the small islands between the two. The Japanese Huchen is believed to be one of the oldest species of salmon in the world alive today. This species faces numerous pressures which explains its critically endangered status. The fish breed in the lower portion of rivers and streams, and this has made them extremely vulnerable to chemical run off and habitat disruption. The biggest contributor to their population decline has been habitat segregation. As woodlands have been cleared and land converted for agriculture more and more chemicals have entered the water way. This plus, illegal fishing and being caught as by catch has pushed the huchen to the brink of extinction across its range.