29 Jan 2014

Imperiled Freshwater Organisms of North America Website

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For Immediate Release: January 29, 2014

Contact: Beth Beard, 301-897-8616 x215, bbeard@fisheries.org

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently renewed an agreement to host a website listing the imperiled fish, crayfish, snails, and mollusks of North America. Since 1972, the AFS Endangered Species Committee has been tracking the status of imperiled fishes and aquatic invertebrates in North America, with revised lists printed periodically in the AFS publication Fisheries. The Imperiled Freshwater Organisms of North America website (http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/afs/index.html) now provides an outlet for these lists so they can be readily accessed by scientists, stakeholders, and the public.

Screenshot of USGS AFS Imperiled Freshwater Organism website

“This is a natural collaboration because both organizations have the goal of sharing information about imperiled aquatic fauna in North America,” said Howard Jelks, chair of the AFS Endangered Species Committee and a fish biologist with the USGS in Gainesville, Florida. “Increased awareness helps benefit those resources at risk, and stakeholders now have easy access to up-to-date scientific information.”

The status lists reveal some striking statistics about the state of North America’s freshwater species. Nearly 40 percent of freshwater fish species in North American streams, rivers, and lakes are now in jeopardy, while 74 percent of freshwater snail and 48 percent of crayfish species are declining or at risk. Currently, the fish, crayfish, and snail subcommittees have provided revised status lists of at-risk taxa, and the mussel subcommittee is completing a similar revision. The renewed Memorandum of Understanding will keep this vital information available through USGS for another five years.

“In the past, I have found the faunal declines documented in the lists published in Fisheries by the AFS Endangered Species Committee disturbing, but incredibly useful in my writings,” said AFS President Bob Hughes, who is with the Amnis Opes Institute in Bend, Oregon. “Now this information is updated and easily available on a joint AFS-USGS website.”

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Founded in 1870, the American Fisheries Society (AFS) is the world’s oldest and largest fisheries science society. The mission of AFS is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals. With five journals and numerous books and conferences, AFS is the leading source of fisheries science information in North America and around the world.

USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit USGS.gov, and follow us on Twitter @USGS and our other social media channels.