As freshwater carves its way towards the ocean and collects in natural basins, it creates some of the most diverse habitats on the planet. Rivers, lakes and wetlands cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface, yet are home to 12% of all known species.
This wealth of life is at risk of being lost. Compounding threats such as pollution, overexploitation, habitat loss and invasive species introductions are rapidly altering the conditions to which freshwater species have adapted over many millennia.
Freshwater ecosystems already have an extinction rate four to six times higher than marine or terrestrial environments, and there has been a staggering 84% decline in freshwater population size since 1970. Fishes are among the most threatened groups: of some 15,000 freshwater fish species, around one in three are threatened with extinction.
SHOAL exists to address that challenge. We will give critical attention, escalate support, and accelerate and intensify the action that is urgently required to stem the tide of extinction and recover endangered species populations throughout the Earth’s freshwaters.