Freshwater fish across the world are facing serious problems. A new study found that many are at risk of extinction and are currently facing a “catastrophic” decline.

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The study found that a third of all freshwater fish are in danger of extinction. 16 global conservation groups published a report that found the biodiversity of freshwater fish species is crucial to the economic health of communities and the health of our planet.

Eighty freshwater fish species have already been found extinct. Freshwater biodiversity is disappearing at twice the rate of forests and oceans.

“Nowhere is the world’s nature crisis more acute than in our rivers, lakes and wetlands, and the clearest indicator of the damage we are doing is the rapid decline in freshwater fish populations. They are the aquatic version of the canary in the coal mine, and we must heed the warning,” said Stuart Orr of the World Wildlife Fund, one of the organizations that published the report. “Despite their importance to local communities and indigenous people across the globe, freshwater fish are invariably forgotten and not factored into development decisions about hydropower dams or water use or building on floodplains.”

Freshwater fish face habitat destruction, dams, water used for irrigation, pollution overfishing, and other problems. They’re also susceptible to climate change. To combat the fishes’ plight, experts recommend river protection, water quality guidelines, and habitat protection to help keep the fish where they are.

Learn more about climate change affecting marine life, including acidification harming Dungeness crabs,  the mystery of dead birds across Alaska, turtles in Cape Cod Bay, lobsters off the coast of New England, and whales in the Gulf of Maine.

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