by Dr. Eleanor Adamson, Fisheries Programme Officer at the Fishmongers’ Company

Every time I cross a bridge or walk past a pond I stop to stare into the depths to see what’s there, I love the thrill of discovery that comes from spotting the glimmer of a fish!

I must have been small when the habit was formed. Small enough to overbalance into ponds and be fished out feet first, to charge without hesitation up to slumbering fishermen and demand to see the contents of their buckets. Small enough to take time, first to notice, and then to be amazed by the diversity of life hidden just beneath the water’s surface.

Curiosity about the natural world and the thrill of discovery have shaped my career, led me through hours of aquarium gazing and riverbank fishing, back to fisheries, to supporting conservation, and ultimately, to SHOAL.

There are many reasons why protecting and preserving our freshwater species is so critically important, for science, for biodiversity, for securing productive freshwater fisheries that support human populations and livelihoods, for maintaining healthy environments and looking after the essential resources critical for our life and wellbeing. But ultimately, for me, freshwater fish conservation is about that “thrill of discovery” feeling, about staring down into the water and knowing that just beneath the surface there will still be amazing lifeforms to spot.

In the years since I first fell into that pond, the world has lost well over half of all the animals living in freshwaters. Freshwaters, home to thousands of species of fish, are among the fastest disappearing habitats, the most degraded and damaged and polluted and used. In some places, fish are going extinct before they’ve even been recorded by science. Freshwater fish all over the world are on the brink of extinction, right now, and I’m not willing to sit by and let that happen. SHOAL gives me a way to change the future, and together with others who value our freshwater life, to reverse the trend and save the most threatened freshwater fish.

SHOAL gives us the chance to do something positive, to make a real difference, today, to turn back the tide of freshwater extinctions. We know the problems facing freshwater life, the situation is dire, there is no more time to waste. SHOAL offers action, grounded in science but acting right now to save species in crisis. Together with a community of people who care about our precious freshwaters and the future of life on earth, SHOAL provides a path straight to the frontline of conservation. Join us and be part of the solution, with your help, we can and will rescue freshwater fish!