Species and Spaces
There are currently a number of
significant threats to fish diversity in the fresh waters of British
Columbia. Some authorities have likened the situation to the "biodiversity
crisis" that is associated with catastrophic species loss in
the Amazonian rain forests. A similar crisis is evident for fishes
indigenous to western North America (Deacon et al., 1979), where
economic development (in particular agriculture and sport fishing)
conflicts with protection of lesser known species. Decisions affecting
economic development in river basins are typically made in the absence
of information on the life-forms being affected, and few scientists
speak out to encourage public concern for non-economic fishes (A.Peden,
Please note that when examining
the distribution of fish species in this section, the Okanagan,
Similkameen and Kettle rivers are part of the Columbia system (flow
into the Columbia River), but they are outside the "Columbia
Basin" as defined in this report.
are 37 species of freshwater fish that are considered at risk and
listed on the provincial RED and BLUE
lists. Six of these are found in the
Columbia Basin (see Table 7).
Table 7: Freshwater
Fish at Risk in the Columbia Basin
Source: CDC Provincial Tracking
Dr. J.D McPhail illustrations
of fish in this section are reproduced from Rare Freshwater Fish
of British Columbia, 1998, by Cannings, S.G. and J. Ptolemy.
Used courtesy of Dr. J.D. McPhail, UBC Department of Zoology.