At least 21% of fresh water species in Africa are threatened with extinction by agriculture, use of water, dams and invading exotic species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned in a study published on Thursday.
In Lake Malawi, oreochromis karongae, a major supply source of fish, has been overfished and seen its population dwindle by 70% in the past 10 years.
Having taken stock of the fish species in Lake Victoria, the study found that 45 % are threatened or considered extinct.
The crater Lake Barombi Mbo in Cameroon plays host to 11 fish species highly threatened by deforestation and large quantities of carbon dioxide released from the depths of the lake.
Moreover, IUCN highlights, other fresh water species, such as shellfish, crabs and water plants which also play a major role in the maintenance of the functions of wetlands are threatened.
The study highlights, in this regard, the fall in the lower stream of the Congo river of 11 species of shellfish, which are seriously threatened in view of upstream pollution.
‘Africa plays host to an astonishing variety of fresh water species, a large number of which cannot be found anywhere else. If we do not curb the loss of species, the continent is not only going to irreversibly lose its biodiversity, but millions of people are also going to lose an essential source of income, food and materials,’ IUCN warned.
Paris – Pana 03/09/2010