Migratory Freshwater Fish Populations: What the 2024 LPI Reveals

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The 2024 update of the Living Planet Index (LPI) highlights a concerning trend for migratory freshwater fish, particularly in Europe, which has seen a drastic 75% decline in populations. This decline is surpassed only by Latin America and the Caribbean, which have experienced a staggering 91% decline

The primary driver of this decline in Europe is habitat loss and degradation. Fragmentation of rivers by hydropower dams and other barriers, along with the conversion of wetlands for agriculture, account for half of the threats to migratory fish. Over-exploitation, increasing pollution, and the escalating impacts of climate change further exacerbate the situation.

Chris Baker, Director of Wetlands International Europe, reacted to the report: “Whilst this report further underlines the parlous state of Europe’s migratory fish and rivers, there is some cause for hope. Grassroots action to reconnect our rivers and improve fish mobility is growing. Furthermore, together with Wetlands International, the Trans-European Swimways Network is helping to identify and prioritize the most important rivers and species for attention. To help this reach scale, European governments must commit to and implement the Nature Restoration Law to help accelerate the recovery of our rivers and migratory fish.”

Download the report:

LPI Migratory Freshwater Fishes 2024 full Technical-report