Global populations of migratory freshwater fish decline by 76% between 1970-2016

The World Fish Migration Foundation has just published a report showing a massive decline in migratory fish populations. some very worrying figures regarding the decline of migratory fish. In the UK, migratory fish include trout, salmon, eel, shad and many others that migrate within freshwater (potadromous) and to sea (anadromous and catadromous). Trout can migrate both within the freshwater environment and to sea.

Globally, monitored populations of migratory freshwater fish have declined by an average of 76% between 1970 and 2016. Average declines have been more pronounced in Europe (-93%) and Latin America & Caribbean (-84%).

The biggest drivers of population decline are habitat degradation, alteration and loss, and over-exploitation. All of these are inextricably linked to human use and impact.

Lower declines in North America (-28%) suggest that management of fisheries could result in a lower average decline in abundance. In the USA, for example, many dams have been removed over the last few decades and the dam removal movement is growing. In 2019 alone, over 900 upstream river miles were reconnected through dam removal projects, improving habitat and biodiversity in rivers and their resilience to a changing climate. 

Full report

Press release