Fish & Habitats– Fish at Risk


When we examine the rarity of vertebrates, most of the rarest animal species in the province are freshwater fish. However, with the exception of the salmon and trout, and possibly sturgeon, our freshwater fishes remain unknown and invisible to nearly all of us. Yet some of the most exciting biological stories are found within this little known group. For example, the rapid evolution of marine sticklebacks into different freshwater forms has made our province famous among scientists around the world.

Valley viewMany fish in British Columbia have a very restricted distribution; these fish are naturally rare. Other species at risk are suffering population declines across a significant portion of their range. And still others are more common in other parts of their global distribution but occur here at the edge of their natural range. It is important to maintain these populations because they have shown they can adapt to harsher conditions and they often show greater genetic variability than core populations. At this time, more than one-third of our native freshwater fish are considered at risk (classified as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable).

Hill/water view Some fish species in B.C. have special status in order to ensure their protection at both the provincial and national levels.

These lists may be viewed at the following sites: Wildlife at Risk, Rare and Endangered Species, Extinct Freshwater Fishes of B.C. and the National Listing.

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