Professor Gordon McGregor Reid, Chair of the FFSG Specialist Group, led the meeting which looked at the global picture for freshwater fish, region by region, and developed strategies for helping threatened species.
This two-day gathering brought together experts from around the world in an effort to address the difficulties facing freshwater fish of which there are more than 14,000 species. More than 35 specialists and advisors were at Chester Zoo for the meeting of the FFSG, a collaboration between IUCN and Wetlands International. Will Darwall and Kevin Smith from the IUCN Species Programme attended along with Jane Madgewick, CEO of Wetlands International. Pete Rand (Chair of the IUCN Salmon Specialist Group) and Claudine Gibson (Programme Officer for the IUCN Sharks and Rays Specialist Group) both presented updates on their work of particular relevance to the FFSG and shared their experiences in Specialist Group operations. Biodiversity issues, climate change, global warming, overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction, all of which pose threats to freshwater fish, were also discussed. Professor Reid was pleased to announce the forthcoming appointment of a part-time Programme Officer to help administer and run the group. Dr Ian Harrison, a fish specialist based at the American Museum of Natural History, has recently been appointed by Conservation International to help raise funds for the joint IUCN / CI Global Freshwater Biodiversity Initiative with the assessment of freshwater fishes as one of his top priorities.