By James G. Thompson / Wired magazinePublished March 12, 2018 11:59am EDT | Updated March 13, 2018 1:11pm EDTWired has the scoop on the world’s most iconic species of fish.
It’s a fascinating look at the history of the worlds largest and most important fish and how their habitat has changed over time.
We talked to James G Thompson, senior conservation biologist with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and he told us how the West is now the most endangered fish species in the world.
It’s one of the largest and best known species in a world of small and medium-sized fish, the red-sided shrimps and other small crustaceans.
We estimate there are about 150 million of them worldwide, mostly in the tropics and temperate regions.
In the 1980s, the fishery was a booming one.
But the number of species fell by about half and, according to the World Fisheries Institute, the number is now just shy of 1,000.
“That’s pretty shocking,” Thompson told Wired.
“That’s really the last gasp of the fisheries that were going through a big decline.”
The last big fish to disappear from the West was the red snapper in the 1970s.
The species went extinct around 1970, but some scientists think it is a symptom of the fish’s decline because the sea ice that protected the fishers was melting at a rapid rate.
A few years ago, the fish population actually rebounded.
That coincided with the start of an ice-free period.
But that has not been enough to reverse the decline, Thompson told us.
The red snappers’ population is estimated to be about 3 million.
In contrast, there are only about 500,000 of the smaller crustacean species in South America and only a few thousand of the redfish species in Australia, the WWF said.
That means there are roughly 400,000 fish in the Pacific, and less than 200,000 in the Atlantic.
“There are some red-snow-shovelers that have been found,” Thompson said.
“Some of them have been very spectacular.
But there’s just not enough for everybody.
There are lots of other fish species that are being lost.”
The worlds second largest fish is the spotted minnow.
It was once the world leader, but that has changed in recent years.
The minnow’s population is around a third smaller than it was 20 years ago.
“The minnow is now in trouble, but we are not sure if that’s due to climate change or if the minnow population has gone down,” Thompson explained.
“The minnows are the most vulnerable fish species, but there are some of the least protected ones.
There’s not a whole lot left.”