The fishes now found in Australia’s marine and freshwaters have evolved over hundreds of millions of years. Those living today are a mere snapshot of extinct forms once living on and around our continent – prehistoric fishes that evolved to adapt to the changing environments of the past, when the super continent of Gondwana broke up, land masses drifted apart and ice sheets came and went.
Australian fishes are now facing another enormous challenge – that brought on by the greatest predator of all – we humans.
With the ever increasing reliance of humans on terrestrial and marine environments for food, recreation, commerce and transport, marine and freshwater habitats and the countless organisms that rely on them have all been affected. In some cases, fishes and their co-inhabitants are targeted, and in others, they are simply been innocent bystanders.
Efforts are continually being made to understand those fishes whose populations are most affected and the reasons for their declines. When identified, measures can be devised to reverse these trends and to ensure the survival of threatened species.
Find out about the status of fishes in Australia, fish conservation, habitat requirements and featured fish groups. Access further information about threatened fishes and the attempts being made to protect them.
Author: Dianne J. Bray & Martin F. Gomon