Tag Archives: fish

Conservation group: Utah fish is endangered

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a petition seeking to have a small fish in the Virgin River Basin listed as an endangered species by the federal government.

The Virgin River spinedace (SPYN-days) is a silvery minnow with a brassy sheen and black, sooty speckles. The fish is endemic to the Virgin River Basin in southwestern Utah, northwestern Arizona and southeastern Nevada, but now is found almost exclusively in Utah.

The federal government, Utah and conservation groups reached agreement in 1996 to try to return the fish to at least 80 percent of its historic habitat. But the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement Tuesday that those goals have not been met and that the fish needs federal protection to have a chance at survival.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Conservation-group-Utah-fish-is-endangered-4054377.php#ixzz2DPEbMbfM

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Murray crayfish extinction risk – DPI proposes vulnerable species listing


THE Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is seeking public submissions on a proposal to list the endangered Murray crayfish as a vulnerable species.

DPI Director of aquaculture, conservation and marine parks, Bill Talbot, says the Fisheries Scientific Committee (FSC) has reviewed available information on Murray crayfish and found that the species is facing a high risk of extinction in New South Wales.

“Factors contributing to the decline of Murray crayfish include continued harvest by recreational fishers, habitat modification and loss, sedimentation, river regulation and the species’ intolerance of low dissolved oxygen concentrations caused by flooding,” says Mr Talbot.

“The FSC is seeking written submissions from the public on any information that may assist their deliberations, including information on abundance, distribution and any historical information, such as old catch records.

“I encourage any member of the public with relevant information to make a submission to the FSC.”

After the close of the consultation period, the FSC will consider all submissions before making a final determination on whether to list the species as a vulnerable species under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

“If listed, it will become an offence to harm, buy, sell, possess, or damage the habitat of Murray crayfish without a specific permit or licence,” says Mr Talbot.

The FSC is an independent scientific advisory body whose role is to determine the eligibility of nominated species through assessment against specified listing criteria, he says.

Submissions must be received in writing by Friday, December 21.

Submissions can be sent by email to fsc@dpi.nsw.gov.au or by mail to Fisheries Scientific Committee, c/- NSW Department of Primary Industries, 12 Shirley Rd, Wollstonencraft NSW 2065.

Further information from www.fsc.nsw.gov.au.

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Tor-tor fish: Extinction danger present and clear


BHOPAL: The state bio-diversity board has recommended to the state government to declare Barna and other rivers as ‘fish sanctuaries’ to conserve the endangered tor-tor species of state fish-mahseer.

Based on recent research reports, recommendations have been made to the fisheries department, which among other things, suggest that the fish will become extinct in a few years if immediate steps are not taken now.

Six species of Mahseer are found in India. Of these, tor-tor was common in rivers of MP, particularly Narmada. Population of mahseer has gone down alarmingly in the past two decades, says Vipin Vyas, lecturer (limnology) of Barkatullah University.

He has carried out an extensive documentation of aquatic biodiversity of major rivers in MP for suggesting their conservations.

“Ex-situ and In-situ conservation action points have been suggested under my study in accordance with National Biodiversity Action Plan and other related legislation and policies,” he said, adding it is sliding towards extinction in the Narmada river (Hoshangabad) and in Tapti (Barhanpur), where it was found in abundance a few years back.

He said there were six seed collection sites reported around Hoshangabad from where seed of mahseer was collected and transported throughout the country, but all vanished.

State fisheries federation is trying to set up new seed collection site at Dongerwada (Hosangabad) in coordination with the local fisherman.

“We have started taking measures for its conservation. Last year we had bought 2 lakh seeds from established hatchery at sub-Himalayan Bheemtal,” says R K Chaudwary, assistant manager of the state fisheries federation. The federation has asked fishermen to release mahseer fishes in natural process if they gets trapped in their nets or hooks. Construction of dams has caused breeding problem of these fishes, said the officer.

To create its gene pool, the bio-diversity board has recommended declaring Bandrabhan, Sethani Ghat, Omkerashwar and Maheshwer Ghat of Narmada as Biodiversity Heritage Spot under Section 37 of Biodiversity Act 2002.

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Rare Alabama Fish Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection


HUNTSVILLE, Ala.–(ENEWSPF)–October 1 – In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and fisheries biologist Mike Sandel, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed Endangered Species Act protection for Alabama’s spring pygmy sunfish. The agency also proposed designating eight stream miles and 1,617 acres of protected critical habitat in Limestone County, Alabama. The spring pygmy sunfish survives only in Beaverdam Creek, where it continues to be threatened by urban sprawl from metropolitan Huntsville, poor agricultural practices and loss of streamside vegetation.

Today’s decision was made in accordance with a 2011 settlement with the Center requiring the Fish and Wildlife Service to make protection decisions on 757 plants and animals, including hundreds in the Southeast.

“The spring pygmy sunfish is only found on one place on Earth,” said Mike Sandel, a fisheries scientist who has done the primary research on the species. “And that one place is severely threatened by urban sprawl, pollution and poor management.”

Discovered in 1937, the sunfish was twice presumed extinct during the 70 years it has been known to science. It is limited primarily to headwater springs and historically occurred in three small disjunct spring complexes (Cave, Pryor and Beaverdam springs) separated by up to 65 miles. Two of the three populations have disappeared. The Cave Springs population was extirpated in 1938 due to inundation by the formation of Pickwick Reservoir; the Pryor Springs population disappeared by the late 1960s, most likely due to dredging and chemical contamination. The single remaining native population occupies just five river miles of the Beaverdam Springs complex. Critical habitat was designated both on Beaverdam Springs and Creek, where the species survives, and on the Pryor and Branch Spring complex.

“The Endangered Species Act is the last hope for the spring pygmy sunfish,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Hundreds of freshwater species in Alabama and the Southeast are staring extinction in the face. Without help, we risk losing species like the spring pygmy sunfish forever.”

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that North American fish species are going extinct at a rate 877 times the fossil record and that this rate may double between now and 2050. Alabama is at the center of this fish extinction crisis with 124 species recognized by scientists as being imperiled. Of these, only 14 are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

“There’s still time to save the spring pygmy sunfish, but only if we act fast to protect its habitat from careless development and unsustainable agricultural practices,” said Sandel.

In 2010 the Center petitioned for 404 other southeastern aquatic species, including fish, mussels and crayfish. In 2011, Fish and Wildlife determined that 374 of these may warrant protection and is now taking a closer look at these species.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature – to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

Source: commondreams.org

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Greenback cutthroat trout nearly completely extinct


The Colorado state fish, the greenback cutthroat trout, is not nearly as common as many people thought, a CU-Boulder study has found. Pure greenback cutthroats are almost completely extinct.

CU researcher Jessica Metcalf says greenback cutthroat are only found in a single stream near Colorado Springs. Lots of other trout might appear physically similar to greenbacks but aren’t the same genetically.

See the story at The New York Times Green blog.

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Sea life facing major shock


Life in the world’s oceans faces far greater change and risk of large-scale extinctions than at any previous time in human history, a team of the world’s leading marine scientists has warned.

The researchers from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and the UK have compared events which drove massive extinctions of sea life in the past with what is observed to be taking place in the seas and oceans globally today.

Three of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years were associated with global warming and acidification of the oceans – trends which also apply today, the scientists say in a new article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Other extinctions were driven by loss of oxygen from seawaters, pollution, habitat loss and pressure from human hunting and fishing – or a combination of these factors.

“Currently, the Earth is again in a period of increased extinctions and extinction risks, this time mainly caused by human factors,” the scientists said.

While the data is harder to collect at sea than on land, the evidence points strongly to similar pressures now being felt by sea life as for land animals and plants.

The researchers conducted an extensive search of the historical and fossil records to establish the main causes of previous marine extinctions – and the risk of their recurring today.

“We wanted to understand what had driven past extinctions of sea life and see how much of those conditions prevailed today,” said co-author Professor John Pandolfi, of the
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland.

Professor Pandolfi is an authority on the fate of coral reefs in previous mass extinction events.

“It is very useful to look back in time – because if you forget your history, you’re liable to repeat it,” he said.

Marine extinction events vary greatly.

In the ‘Great Death’ of the Permian 250 million years ago, for example, an estimated 95 per cent of marine species died out due to a combination of warming, acidification, loss of oxygen and habitat.

Scientists have traced the tragedy in the chemistry of ocean sediments laid down at the time, and abrupt loss of many sea animals from the fossil record.

“We are seeing the signature of all those drivers today – plus the added drivers of human overexploitation and pollution from chemicals, plastics and nutrients,” Professor Pandolfi said.

“The fossil record tells us that sea life is very resilient – that it recovers after one of these huge setbacks.

“But also that it can take millions of years to do so.”

The researchers wrote the paper out of their concern that the oceans appear to be on the brink of another major extinction event.

“There may be still time to act,” Professor Pandolfi says.

“If we understand what drives ocean extinction, we can also understand what we need to do to prevent or minimise it.

“We need to understand that the oceans aren’t just a big dumping ground for human waste, contaminants and CO2 – a place we can afford to ignore or overexploit.

“They are closely linked to our own survival, wellbeing and prosperity as well as that of life on Earth in general.

“Even though we cannot easily see what is going on underwater, we need to recognise that the influence of 7 billion humans is now so great it governs the fate of life in the oceans.

“And we need to start taking responsibility for that.”

He said: “The situation is not hopeless.

“In fact we have seen clear evidence both from the past and the present that sea life can bounce back, given a chance to do so.

“For example, in Australia we have clear evidence of that good management of coral reefs can lead to recovery of both corals and fish numbers.

“So, rather, our paper is an appeal to humanity to give the oceans a chance.

“In effect, it says we need to stop releasing the CO2 that drives these massive extinction events, curb the polluted and nutrient-rich runoff from the land that is causing ocean ‘dead zones’ manage our fisheries more sustainably and protect their habitat better.

“All these things are possible, but people need to understand why they are essential.

“That is the first step in taking effective action to prevent extinctions.”

Their paper “Extinctions in ancient and modern seas” by Paul G. Harnik, Heike K. Lotze, Sean C. Anderson, Zoe V. Finkel, Seth Finnegan, David R. Lindberg, Lee Hsiang Liow, Rowan Lockwood, Craig R. McClain, Jenny L. McGuire, Aaron O’Dea, John M. Pandolfi, Carl Simpson and Derek P. Tittensor appears in the online edition of Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE).

More information:
Professor John Pandolfi, CoECRS and UQ, +61 7 3365 3050 or (m) +61 400 982 301
Jenny Lappin, CoECRS, +61 417 741 638
Jan King, UQ Communications Manager, +61 (0)7 3365 1120

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Endangered species on the menu


ACCORDING to scientific analysis by Stony Brook University, the shark fin soup served in 14 US cities contains at-risk species, including scalloped hammerhead, which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Endangered globally.

“The DNA testing again confirms that a wide variety of sharks are being killed for the fin trade, including seriously threatened species,” said Dr Demian Chapman, who co-led the DNA testing at the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University in New York. “US consumers of shark fin soup cannot be certain of what’s in their soup. They could be eating a species that is in serious trouble.”

In addition to the scalloped hammerhead, the team found that the 32 samples identified as sharks included smooth hammerheads, school sharks, and spiny dogfish, which are all listed as vulnerable to extinction; and other near threatened species, such as bull and copper sharks.

“This is further proof that shark fin soup here in the United States—not just in Asia—is contributing to the global decline of sharks,” said Liz Karan, manager of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group. “Sharks must be protected from overfishing and any international trade in these vulnerable and endangered species must be tightly regulated.”

Dr Chapman’s research combines DNA-analysis with ecological data to better understand the population biology, evolution, and ecology of large marine vertebrates, particularly sharks and their relatives. He worked with the Pritzker Laboratory at the Field Museum in Chicago to modify existing DNA-barcoding techniques to identify shark DNA fragments that had deteriorated in the fin treatment and cooking process. This study represents the first time that shark fin soup has been tested in a large, nationwide manner.

Samples were collected in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Las Vegas; Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Shark attack survivors who have become global advocates for conservation of their attackers helped collect some of the samples for the study. The survivors, as well as the soup study, will be featured during Discovery’s show “Shark Fight” at 9 pm on August 15.

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