August 27, 2012
Study: North American Fish Species Going Extinct at Alarming Rate
By Chad Love
If you have a particular North American fish species on your bucket list, you may want to go ahead and catch it now. I mean right now, while it's still here. Because if you wait until you retire, it may not be.
From this story in the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife News Bulletin website:
From 1900-2010, freshwater fish species in North America went extinct at a rate 877 times faster than the rate found in the fossil record, while estimates indicate the rate may double between now and 2050. This new information comes from a U.S. Geological Survey study to be published in the September issue of the journal BioScience. In the fossil record, one freshwater fish species goes extinct every 3 million years, but North America lost 39 species and 18 subspecies between 1898 and 2006. Based on current trends in threatened and endangered fish species, researchers estimate that an additional 53-86 species of freshwater fish may be extinct by the year 2050.
But wait, there's more! According to the story, since the first extinction assessment took place in 1989, the number of extinct fish has increased by a whopping 25 percent. That's, well, stunning. Three years or so ago, I wrote a half-joking blog post in which I opined that maybe I should pawn a few of my guns to finally realize my bluefin tuna dreams. While I still hold out dreams of catching a bluefin before it's too late for that particular species, maybe I should also start looking around at other candidates. Because obviously there's something going on.
Thoughts? Reaction? It's a depressing question, but is there some North American fish species you want to catch before it's too late?