Shoal releases ‘The World’s Forgotten Fishes’ report with WWF and other leading conservation organisations

Shoal has released a critical report with WWF and 15 other leading conservation organisations , calling on governments to commit to an Emergency Recovery Plan for global freshwater biodiversity.

‘The World’s Forgotten Fishes’ report is a urgent call to arms for authorities to ramp up their action towards conserving freshwater ecosystems. Bold, ambitious prioritisation will be essential if we are going to bend the curve of the biodiversity crisis and safeguard the futures of freshwater species. As the report says, ‘2021 may be the last chance for governments to chart a new course that could reverse the loss of nature and put the world back onto a sustainable path’.


The report details the importance of freshwater fish, and discusses their central role in the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. It discusses the money generated through recreational activities such as angling, the impressive cultural heritage fish have woven into our lives, and the potentially surprising fact that aquarium fish are more popular than cats or dogs.

It explains the reasons for the catastrophic decline in fish species populations and, crucially, sets out the Emergency Recovery Plan that is needed to guide policymakers:

  1. Allowing rivers to flow more naturally.
  2. Reducing pollution.
  3. Protecting critical wetland habitats.
  4. Ending overfishing and unsustainable sand mining.
  5. Controlling invasive species.
  6. Safeguarding and restoring connectivity.

The report confirms that the ‘freshwater transition is a realistic and pragmatic one, based on measures that have already been tried and tested in at least some rivers, lakes and wetlands’, and goes on to say that ‘it is a comprehensive plan that moves us away from today’s ad hoc conservation successes towards a strategic approach that can deliver solutions at the scale necessary to reverse the collapse in biodiversity and set us on course to a future where our freshwater ecosystems are once again fully healthy and teeming with freshwater fishes and other wildlife’.

Over the coming weeks we will be highlighting Forgotten Fishes in a number of magazines and podcasts, including this interview with Mike Baltzer in angling magazine The Wading List. Keep an eye on our social media channels to stay updated with the latest.