A recent report was released by WWF in collaboration of multiple agencies on our freshwater ecosystem biodiversity crisis. The report highlighted how our freshwater fishes are in steep decline. In fact, one in three freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction. In this week’s podcast episode we welcome a founder and the Executive Director of Shoal, Mike Baltzer, to discuss this report and what his organization is doing to help our freshwater ecosystems. Mike is a conservation superhero who worked with WWF for 18 years before he helped found Shoal. This is an area of conservation that deserves all our attention and please share what you learn with all your friends and family.
Taken from the Shoal website, they state there is a paradox, particularly surrounding freshwater fish conservation, in that there are significant numbers of people with a direct interest in their conservation. A new partnership is needed that can scale action and ensure coordination and collaboration with key actors in the field.
Shoal has been created to build and direct this partnership to effectively and efficiently direct funding and other resources at the most critical interventions required to prevent freshwater species extinctions.
Currently this kind of partnership does not exist for almost any other group of species, let alone freshwater fish. This will be an inclusive, partner-driven alliance, ensuring the fundamental mission of Shoal is met – to conserve freshwater fish through action-driven conservation.
We start with freshwater fish – a group in desperate need of attention and action and one which elicits interest from us all. We will place freshwater fish at the forefront of Shoal – providing a strong and simple message that these species need our help. In conserving fish, we will in turn be conserving other freshwater species and their habitats. As the Shoal partnership develops, and depending on the partnership’s drive and interests, other targeted freshwater species such as plants and invertebrates will be included. We believe this initiative can be catalytic to freshwater species conservation – “when you build it they will come”.