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Are Fish Endangered? What You Need to Know

In recent years, the populations of many fish species around the world have been declining at an alarming rate. This makes a person wonder; “Are all fish endangered?” “How many fish species are endangered?”, and “Wait – what fish are endangered?”

This has led to concerns that some fish may be endangered or soon extinct. This is a huge deal because, without fish, it is a very real possibility ALL life on Earth faces a very real extinction risk.

So many food chains rely on fish.

What causes this decline, and what can be done to prevent it? In this blog post, we will explore these questions and more.

Are some fish species endangered?

fish species endangered

Are some fish species endangered? According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps a “Red List” of threatened species.

The IUCN estimates that one-fifth of all known marine fish species are threatened with extinction, including many commercially important fish such as tuna, swordfish, and shark.

See Related: Asian Elephant: Why Is It Endangered?

What are the Causes of the Declining Fish Populations?

Several things are causing fish populations to decline:


fishing net

One of the biggest problems is overfishing. When fish are caught faster than they can reproduce, it leads to a decline in population. It is a significant problem because it means that there are fewer fish for everyone (and everything else that eats fish), and it also makes it more difficult for fish populations to recover from other threats.

It’s happened all over the world due to various factors, such as new technologies that make it easier to catch fish, or an increase in the demand for seafood due to larger human populations.

See Related: Is a Fish an Animal? Here’s What You Need to Know

Habitat Loss

trash in the ocean

Habitat loss is a significant problem for fish populations around the world. As humans continue to encroach on natural habitats, we are taking away the places where fish live and breed. It can lead to a decline in population and an increase in the risk of extinction for some species, including marine animals.

Habitat loss is often caused by pollution, development, and the introduction of invasive species.

In order to help protect fish populations, it is essential to limit our impact on natural habitats and take steps to restore damaged ecosystems. We can help ensure that fish have the habitats they need to thrive by working together.

See Related: Best Eco-Friendly Glitter Alternatives


city view

Pollution is a major problem for the world’s oceans. Every year, billions of pounds of trash are dumped into the sea, polluting the water and harming marine life. Pollution can be harmful to fish in several ways. First, it can contaminate their food supply.

Second, it can make the water more acidic, making it harder for fish to breathe. Third, it can kill fish eggs and young fish. As a result of all these factors, pollution can lead to a decline in fish populations.

In addition, pollution poses a serious threat to the ocean’s health. We are jeopardizing the ocean’s ability to support life by polluting the water. The really bad news is, with a poisoned ocean that can’t support marine life, ALL life on Earth is endangered!

See Related: Coniferous Trees Response to Climate Change and Conservation

Climate Change


Climate change is another major threat to fish populations. As the water gets warmer, it can be harmful to fish and their eggs.

It can lead to a decline in population and an increase in the risk of extinction for some species. Climate change has already begun to impact fish populations around the world, and the problem is likely to worsen in the coming years.

It also results in species vacating their habitats for colder waters. This is a problem because they are at risk of having to adapt to a new environment that might not be able to support them. It also potentially exposes them to new predators, or they themselves may become a predator of native species!

To protect fish populations, we must take steps to reduce our use of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases. These directly contribute to the problem of rising ocean temperatures.

See Related: Are Fish Endangered? What You Need to Know

Food Scarcity

Indian hand

Food scarcity is another one of the reasons certain fish are pushed to extinction. The lack of food causes fish to starve, leading to their extinction. When there is a decrease in food availability, fish populations are forced to compete for resources.

It can lead to physical stress, reduced body size, and ultimately, death. Food scarcity can be caused by several factors, including overfishing, climate change, and pollution.

What can be done to Help?

As our demand for seafood increases, fish populations struggle to keep up. In addition, as the oceans warm and become more acidic, many fish species are struggling to survive.

Humans are the main reason why so many fish are endangered. The things people do every day are polluting the water and causing climate change, making it harder for fish to survive. Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint to help prevent climate change.
  • Do not pollute waterways!
  • Support sustainable fishing practices.
  • Educate others about the importance of conserving fish populations.
  • Eat less fish. Yummy and healthy as they are.

We can help make a difference in the fight to save fish populations by doing our part. Together, we can ensure that these creatures will be around for future generations to enjoy.

The fish probably prefer it too!

See Related: Become a Contributor for Our Endangered World

Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act is one of the most powerful tools in the United States to conserve fish and other wildlife. The ESA was enacted in 1973 in response to the growing number of native species becoming endangered or threatened with extinction.

The ESA provides for the conservation of these species by creating recovery plans and the designation of critical habitat areas. The ESA also prohibits the taking of Endangered and Threatened species.

The Endangered Species Act has successfully prevented the extinction of many species, including the American bald eagle, the Florida panther, and the California condor.

The ESA has also helped recover many species, such as the brown pelican and the peregrine falcon. The Endangered Species Act is an essential tool for conserving our nation’s wildlife heritage – and that includes fish.

Here’s how ESA works to save endangered species:

  • ESA listing and designation of critical habitat for species.
  • Planning and implementing the reintroduction of listed species.
  • Establishing conservation partnerships with and awarding funding to the states.
  • Minimize the impact of any federal action that may affect a listed species.
  • Working with other countries to guarantee that international trade does not pose an environmental concern.
  • Detecting and preventing ESA violations.
  • Developing long-term conservation programs with non-federal partners.

What are the consequences of losing Fish Populations?

In the world of ecology, it is widely accepted that the health of the environment is interconnected with the health of the species that live within it.

Losing fish populations can have a ripple effect on the entire global ecosystem. For example, fewer fish in the water could mean less food for predators like whales, seals, sea lions, and penguins.

This means that we are losing vital sources of food, as well as important parts of the ecosystem.

It could lead to a decline in their populations as well. Additionally, fewer fish could also increase algae growth due to a decrease in grazing by fish. Too many algae can create problems for the health of coral reefs and other marine life.

Losing fish can have serious consequences for human populations. For one thing, fish is a major source of healthy protein for many people around the world. Fish is an important part of the global food chain.

If all fish species become extinct, it’s highly likely the rest of Earth’s species follow suit.

How can we protect our fish populations?

One of the best things people can do to help protect fish populations is to become more educated about the issues these creatures face. You can learn about the significant threats to fish and what you can do to reduce your impact here.

You can also support legislation protecting fish and work with local organizations to promote sustainable fishing practices.

Endangered Fishes List

There are many fish species threatened by man and the changing environment. Here are 22 species that are at risk.

1. Beluga Sturgeon

Beluga Sturgeon

The Beluga Sturgeon (Huso huso) is a large fish native to the Caspian and Black Seas. It is considered to be endangered due to overfishing. Beluga Sturgeon has been hunted for their caviar, a luxury food item. The Beluga Sturgeon population has declined in the wild due to overfishing.

Beluga Sturgeon are slow-growing and long-lived, making them particularly vulnerable to overfishing. They can live up to 100 years old and don’t start reproducing until they’re at least 7 to 10 years old. It means that they can’t replace themselves as quickly as other fish species.

See Related: What Are The Effects of Overharvesting?

2. Southern Bluefin Tuna

Southern Bluefin Tuna

Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) is a species of fish found in the waters off the coast of Australia and Indonesia. Southern Bluefin Tuna are a highly prized fish by commercial fishers and sports fishers alike. It is part of the endangered fish species list due to its decreasing population.

These tuna are known for their large size, with some Southern Bluefin Tuna reaching weights over 800 pounds. The Southern Bluefin Tuna is an apex predator, which means it has no natural predators in its environment.

(Save the ever invasive human!)

Combined with its reputation as a great-tasting fish, it makes the Southern Bluefin Tuna a popular commercial and recreational fishing target. Southern Bluefin Tuna are a migratory species, meaning they travel long distances searching for food.

It can often put them into contact with other fish stocks, resulting in the transfer of diseases and parasites.

Southern Bluefin Tuna are also prone to becoming entangled in fishing nets, often resulting in death. As Southern Bluefin Tuna populations have declined in recent years, there has been an increased focus on managing and conserving this critical species.

See Related: Wandering Albatross: Is This Animal Endangered?

3. Winter Skate

Winter Skate
Image by SharkandRays

Winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata) is a fascinating animal that has deterred predators with a sharp, pulsating electric shock! It is also fantastically slow in achieving sexual maturity.

Most of them are present in the northwest of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Winter skates were once thought of as “trash fish,” today harvested and transformed into fish meal ad hoc and even commercially sold. An increase in the catching of species results in accidental capture of juveniles, often interpreted as being more extensive and more abundant species by experts.

It has resulted in a massive population loss for winter skate, despite a small population of descendants.

Winter skate is an essential member of the ocean ecosystem, and its decline could have severe consequences on the food chain.

See Related: How Do Eels Reproduce? Learn the Mysterious Lifecycle

4. Orange Roughy

Orange Roughy

The Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), also known as the deep-sea perch, is a fish found in cold waters worldwide. The Orange Roughy can live for more than 200 years old, making it one of the longest-lived fish in the world.

Prized for their meat, the fish do not start to reproduce until they are about 30 years old. Scientists say the impacts of historical overfishing on the orange roughy have not yet been fully felt.

The Orange roughy was severely overfished in the late 20th Century, with global numbers drastically depleted by the early 2000s. Today numbers are on the rise again as many Orange roughies are raised for food in fisheries in Australia and New Zealand.

See Related: Giant Panda: Why Is It Endangered?

5. Red Handfish

The Red Handfish (Brachionichthys politus) is a marine fish found only in Tasmania, Australia. This unique fish has hand-like pectoral fins and lives in shallow water near the coast, where it uses its fins to “walk” along the seafloor in search of food.

Red Handfish are critically endangered, with less than 3,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

The primary threat to the Red Handfish is habitat loss due to pollution and climate change. Red Handfish are also at risk of being caught by predators, as they are slow-moving and cannot swim fast.

Scientists are working to protect the remaining population of Red Handfish by increasing awareness of their plight and working to restore their habitat.

6. European Eel

European Eel

European eels (Anguilla anguilla) are a species of freshwater fish members of the eel family. They are found in rivers and streams throughout Europe and are a popular food fish. European eels are also used in traditional medicine.

European eels are threatened by overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and disease. As a result of these threats, European eels are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List.

European eels are important to the ecosystem because they help to control the population of other animals. European eels are also a source of food for humans and other animals.

These eels have been declining in population for many years, and it is important to take action to protect them.

See Related:

7. Chinese Sturgeon

The Chinese Sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis) is a large species of fish found in China’s rivers and lakes. They can grow up to 6ft in length and have a long body with gray or brown scales.

It is one of the most endangered fish in the world, with an estimated about 2,000 individuals remaining in the wild. The Chinese Sturgeon is critically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, and overfishing.

The Chinese Sturgeon is an important species in Chinese culture and has been used for food and medicine for centuries.

Conservation efforts are urgently needed to save this species from extinction. The Chinese government is working to protect this endangered species through conservation efforts such as breeding programs and habitat protection. With proper management and protection, the Chinese Sturgeon has a chance of survival.

8. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Probably the biggest endangered fish globally, Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) covers a significant part of the Northern Atlantic. According to the ESA, it is part of the endangered saltwater fish list and endangered fish species list as a whole.

This is one of the fastest fish in the ocean, being able to swim at over 40 mph. They can grow to 14 ft (4.3 m) and weigh over 1,800 lbs (800 kg). It is known for being a fighting species, and these species became very popular with recreational fishers.

Despite the high cost, it is extremely valued for commercial fishers averaging $100,000 per fish. The bluefin tuna is extremely over-explored, and most experts believe that the fast-growing species could end up extinct if they are not managed immediately.

See Related: Sperm Whale: Is This Animal Endangered?

9. Patagonian Toothfish

Patagonian Toothfish

Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is another endangered type of fish. They are found in the southernmost parts of the world, including Antarctica. These fish are important for the ecosystem because they help keep other fish populations in check.

However, they are threatened by overfishing and climate change. Patagonian toothfish has been overfished for years, and their populations have declined. In addition, Patagonian toothfish are negatively affected by climate change.

As the oceans warm, Patagonian toothfish are forced to move into deeper and colder waters, searching for food and suitable habitat.

These changes make it difficult for Patagonian toothfish to thrive, and their populations are expected to decline even further in the future. Patagonian toothfish are an important part of the ecosystem, and we must take steps to protect them.

10. Atlantic Cod

Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) isn’t a type of endangered fish – but is considered vulnerable to extinction. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is overfishing. It means that people are catching too many cod, and it’s becoming harder and harder for them to survive.

Atlantic Cod have been overfished for years, and its population has declined sharply. In order to prevent further decline, we all must take action to reduce our consumption of Atlantic Cod.

One way to do this is to choose other types of fish when ordering seafood at your local fish n’ chip shop. We can help Atlantic Cod populations recover and ensure that these magnificent creatures will be around for generations to come by making this small change.

See Related: California Condor: Why Is It Endangered?

11. Devil Fish

Devil Fish
Devil ray (Mobula sp.)” by krokodiver is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Devil Fish (Mobula mobular) is a species of fish in danger of becoming extinct. Devil Fish are found in the coastal waters of Australia and New Zealand and are distinctive for their long, ribbon-like fins. Devil Fish grow to an average length of three feet and can live for up to twenty years.

Devil Fish populations have declined sharply due to pollution, overfishing, and habitat loss. As a result, its fish conservation status is endangered on the IUCN Red List. There are many ways to help protect Devil Fish, including reducing your impact on the environment and supporting conservation efforts.

12. Atlantic Halibut

Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is the largest flatfish in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. They can have a lifetime of over 30 years, 15 feet, and weigh up to 710 pounds (320 kilograms) when fully operational.

But because this slow-growing fish does not mature sexually until ten to fifteen months of age, it increases the risk of excessive fishing. Fortunately, there are steps being taken to help protect these fish.

For example, Atlantic Halibut is now classified as a protected species in many areas, and there are catch limits in place to help ensure that the population is not overexploited. In addition, many Atlantic Halibut are now being raised in aquaculture facilities, which helps mitigate the pressure on wild populations.

See Related: Western Lowland Gorilla: Why Is It Endangered?

13. Nassau Grouper

Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) is a very valuable fish in the recreational and commercial fishing industry, meaning that they are heavily fished in their spawning aggregates. This has resulted in severe declines in many Nassau Grouper populations worldwide. Nassau Grouper aggregates have slowly disappeared due to overfishing.

The Nassau Grouper is a very important fish to many different ecosystems, and its population decline could have drastic effects on the environment.

The Nassau Grouper is also an important food source for many different animals, and its decline could lead to a decrease in food availability for these animals.

14 Japanese Eel

Japanese Eel

Japanese Eels (Anguilla japonica) are a critically endangered species of fish in addition to already being a rare species of fish. According to the IUCN Red List, they are “facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”

The main threats to their survival are overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss. Japanese eels are found in rivers and lakes throughout Japan and East Asia. They spend most of their lives in freshwater habitats, but they migrate to the ocean to breed.

Japanese Eels are an important food source in Japan, and they are also used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, overfishing has severely depleted their numbers. Japanese Eels are also threatened by pollution and habitat loss and they are now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

In recent years, there has been a decline in the number of young eels reaching maturity, which is believed to be caused by pollutants such as plastic waste and chemicals that cause reproductive problems. Habitat loss is another major threat to Japanese eels.

The construction of dams and other development projects have fragmented their habitats and prevented them from migrating to breeding grounds. As a result of these threats, Japanese eels face an extremely high risk of extinction.

See Related: Most Endangered Amphibians On Earth

15. Maltese Ray

Maltese Ray

Maltese Rays (Leucoraja melitensis) are another species of endangered fish. There are many reasons why this fish is endangered, but the main reason is overfishing. This fish is often caught for its meat, which is considered a delicacy in some cultures and dog food in others.

Because of this, Maltese Ray is being fished at an unsustainable rate, and their population is rapidly declining.

There are many ways to help protect Maltese Ray and other endangered fish species. One way is to support sustainable fishing practices. It means only buying caught fish using methods that don’t harm the environment or deplete fish populations. You can also help by reducing your consumption of fish or by choosing to eat (or for your dog to eat) only sustainably caught fish.

16. Goliath Grouper

The Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara) is one of the largest fish in the sea. They can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow up to eight feet long. These fish are a reddish-brown color with large, dark spots. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Goliath groupers are a popular food fish. They are also sought after by trophy fishers. It has led to a decrease in their numbers. In addition, they are sometimes caught as bycatch by commercial fishers.

Goliath groupers are now classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

See Related: Are Cork Trees Endangered? Things May Not Be What They Seem

17. Boccaccio Rockfish

Boccaccio Rockfish

Boccaccio Rockfish (Sebastes paucispinis) is one of the most common rockfish in the Pacific Northwest. They are deepwater fish that lives up to 100 years old. They are also tasty fish and popular with commercial and recreational fishers.

Despite their abundance and popularity, there is a concern that Boccaccio Rockfish are becoming endangered. Their population has declined, and they are now considered a “species of concern” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

There are several reasons why Boccaccio Rockfish may be declining in numbers. They are very slow to mature and are thus particularly vulnerable to overfishing. They are also subject to several diseases, which may be exacerbated by changes in water temperature due to climate change.

If Boccaccio Rockfish continue to decline in numbers, it could have a severe impact on the ecology of the Pacific Northwest. They are an essential part of the food chain, and their decline could lead to a decrease in the populations of other fish and animals that rely on them for food.

18. Acadian Redfish

This fish is threatened by overfishing and climate change. In order to help protect this fish, it is essential to know how to identify it and understand the threats it faces.

The Acadian Redfish (Sebastes fasciatus) is a reddish-brown fish with large scales. It can grow about 30 inches long and weigh up to 10 pounds. This fish is only found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is off the coast of Canada.

The Acadian Redfish is a threatened marine species by overfishing and climate change. Overfishing occurs when people catch too many fish, which can happen when fishers are not using sustainable fishing practices.

Climate change is a threat to the Acadian Redfish because it is causing the water in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to become warmer. Warmer water can make it harder for fish to survive.

See Related: Most Endangered Species in Canada

19. Ariake Dwarf Icefish

Ariake Dwarf Icefish

The Ariake Dwarf Icefish (Neosalanx reganius) is a critically endangered fish that can only be found in the Ariake Sea in Japan. These fish are small and have a deep blue coloration.

They are threatened by both commercial and recreational fishing and habitat loss. The Ariake Dwarf Icefish is an essential part of the local ecosystem, and its population decline has caused problems for the Ariake Sea.

In order to protect this species, it is essential to educate people about the Ariake Dwarf Icefish and the importance of preserving its habitat.

20. Pointed Sawfish

Pointed Sawfish

The Pointed sawfish (Pristis pectinata) is a species of sawfish listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. This species is found in the Indo-Pacific region, and it has been severely impacted by overfishing.

The Pointed sawfish has a long, thin snout that is lined with sharp teeth, and it uses this to slice through prey.

This species can grow to be over 20 ft long, and they are a significant part of the food chain in their ecosystem. Unfortunately, Pointed Sawfish are often caught as bycatch in fisheries, and they are also hunted for their fins, which are used in shark-fin soup.

See Related: Most Endangered Animals of Europe

21. Blackfin Gulper Shark

Blackfin Gulper Shark
Image by SharkandRays

The Blackfin Gulper Shark (Centrophorus isodon) is one of the many fish that are endangered around the world. These sharks are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and they are a predatory species. Their diet consists mainly of small fish and marine invertebrates.

Unfortunately, there are many threats to the Blackfin Gulper Shark population. One of the main threats is commercial fishing. These sharks are often caught as bycatch, and they are also targeted for their fins, which are used in the shark fin soup trade.

Additionally, Blackfin Gulper Sharks are very slow-growing and have a low reproductive rate, making them even more vulnerable to extinction.

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22. Robust Redhorse 

The Robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum) is a threatened fish species found in North America. It is a member of the sucker family and can be identified by its long, slender body and red coloring. The Robust redhorse is listed as a species of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). It is considered to be at risk of becoming endangered.

There are several reasons why the Robust redhorse is at risk of becoming endangered. One reason is that it has a very limited range, only being found in a few river systems in Canada. It means that any changes to these river systems, such as pollution or dams are a major threat to the survival of the species.


are fish endangered

Fish are not a single species, but a diverse group of aquatic animals that include thousands of different species. Many fish populations are currently endangered due to overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change. Some of the most endangered fish species include the Atlantic bluefin tuna, the Chinese paddlefish, and the vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California.

What is the #1 most endangered fish?

The vaquita is a small porpoise that is only found in the Gulf of California. It is estimated that there are fewer than 10 individuals remaining in the wild. The main threat to the vaquita is accidental entanglement in fishing nets, particularly those used in the illegal totoaba fish trade.

How many fish are endangered?

Fish endangered is a term used to describe fish species that are at risk of extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), over 1,200 species of fish are currently listed as endangered or critically endangered. This number is constantly changing as new species are added to the list due to factors such as overfishing, habitat loss, and climate change.

Are fish an endangered species?

Fish are not a single species, but rather a diverse group of aquatic animals that belong to different families and genera. Some fish populations are endangered due to overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. However, not all fish species are endangered, and conservation efforts have helped to recover some populations.

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