Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) rest in a reservoir during their upstream spawning migration in Quebec, Canada, in this undated brochure photo. Michel Roggo/Disclosure via REUTERS

GENEVA – Around a quarter of all freshwater fish species are at risk of extinction due to threats from climate change and pollution, the latest Red List of Threatened Species revealed on Monday.

One of the main threats is the chaos that climate change is causing in water cycles, such as falling water levels and rising sea levels, causing sea water to rise up rivers, according to the Union International for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which compiles the list several times a year.

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In its first comprehensive analysis of freshwater fish, the IUCN said more than 3,000 species out of nearly 15,000 were at risk.

Also at risk is Atlantic salmon, which swim in both fresh and salt water. It was downgraded from “Least Concern” to “Near Threatened,” based on evidence that its global population fell by 23% between 2006 and 2020, the IUCN said. He cited mortality due to salmon lice on farms, as well as the increase in invasive species as some of the factors.

“Ensuring that freshwater ecosystems are well managed, continue to flow freely with sufficient water and good water quality is essential to halting species declines and maintaining food security, livelihoods and economies in a climate-resilient world.” climate,” said Kathy Hughes, co-chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Freshwater Fish Specialist Group.

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Another fish currently in danger is the “big-toothed thief”, found in Kenya, in the largest desert lake in the world, Lake Turkana. The species dropped two categories to 'Vulnerable' due in part to dehydration of habitat due to climate change, as well as depletion of water flows caused by damming, the IUCN said.

On a positive note, the Scimitar Oryx is no longer extinct in the wild thanks to a successful reintroduction project in Chad, where hundreds of calves were born, the IUCN said.


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