Australia's Threatened Fishes

Australia's EEZ is home to 5500+ fish species – a mere snapshot of the prehistoric fishes that evolved over millions of years in the changing environments of the past, when the super continent of Gondwana broke up, land masses drifted apart and ice sheets came and went. Now, in modern Australia and around the world, aquatic environments and the countless organisms that rely on them are facing enormous challenges from we humans. 

Our fish fauna includes about 315 native freshwater fishes, ranging from tiny blue-eyes, to the mighty Murray Cod, Australia's largest freshwater fish. In a recent study, a team of experts found that almost a fifth of these freshwater fishes are threatened, including 22 species that are at the greatest risk of extinction within two decades. These include 12 species that were only described in the past decade, and another seven awaiting formal description. 

In 2019, all these species were listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – yet most are not listed as threatened under Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act EPBC Act 1999. Experts fear that without adequate funding and crucially needed intervention, some may soon become extinct.

Cite this page as:

Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020. Australia's threatened fishes, in Fishes of Australia, accessed [date viewed].