Get access

Progress towards a global assessment of the status of freshwater fishes (Pisces) for the IUCN Red List: application to conservation programmes in zoos and aquariums



The 15 750 valid described species of freshwater fishes comprise around 25% of living vertebrate species diversity, and are a key economic and nutritional resource for people globally. However, information on the conservation status and distribution of freshwater fishes in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Red List) has been extremely limited until recently. Over the last 10 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Species Programme Freshwater Biodiversity Unit has made significant progress to fill this information gap. From a base of only 660 freshwater-fish species assessed on the Red List in 2002, a further 5125 species assessments have now been completed. As of 2011, 60 freshwater-fish species are thought to be Extinct, eight are Extinct in the Wild and 1679 are threatened with extinction. This information, combined with new work to identify important sites for freshwater fishes, will help the world's zoos and aquariums identify potential targets (species or areas) for in situ and ex situ conservation programmes.