Killifish are a group of unusually small and colourful fish that have evolved particularly robust egg casings. These casings prevent the embryos from drying out and some species survive for months, even years in dry mud. This has allowed killifish to colonise and survive in the smallest temporary pools, even in an elephant’s footprint. The sudden appearance of fish in fresh puddles has given rise to the phrase ‘It rains fishes’.
In keeping with findings from across the world’s river basins, local fishermen had noticed a dramatic decline in the abundance and size of large fish species. What was also notable was that the older the fishermen that was interviewed the greater the loss appeared, particularly the plight of local sturgeon populations.
In October, I was invited to be a keynote speaker at the WWF European Freshwater Practice meeting in Berlin. While I was there, I also had a number of meetings aimed to help take Shoal forward in Germany. We are keen to establish a base in Germany to be able to work with companies and hobbyists in Germany and the rest of the European Union.
This air breathing capability means snakeheads can survive out of water for some time, and some species use this to their advantage, “walking” overland from one water body to another by wriggling movements of their body.
The trip comes at the tail of a long story of conservation detective work of one of the world’s most charismatic fishes that has led us to take action, in the eleventh hour, to save a critically-endangered fish before it disappears forever.
Freshwater fish share the same bodies of water that humans rely on for irrigation, food source, transportation, leisure and drinking. It makes sense that by contributing to freshwater fish conservation we help not only the fish we love but ourselves as well.
Most divers are interested in coral reefs and other marine environments, so people used to wonder why I was so keen to see brown fish in brown water! It’s true that a lot of freshwater fish aren’t all that exciting visually, but in fact there are some incredible looking fish out there in rivers and lakes, even if we don’t often get to see them.
Freshwater megafauna: flagships for freshwater conservation? by Merlin Veron, Conservation Research [...]