Event Abstract

Freshwater fishes of the Maghreb: distribution, diversity and conservation status

  • 1 Museum für Naturkunde, Germany
  • 2 Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Germany
  • 3 University of Liège, Belgium
  • 4 National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN), Spain
  • 5 Mohammed V University, Morocco

Freshwater ecosystems in the Maghreb, defined here as the region delimited by the North African countries Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, face severe anthropogenic and environmental pressures driven primarily by the water demands of a human population estimated to have exceeded 88.5 million people in 2017. The Maghreb is an important centre of diversity for freshwater fishes, and a current checklist of all native, endemic and alien freshwater fish species is presented here. The last comprehensive IUCN Red List assessment of Maghrebi freshwater fishes was carried out in 2006, and a number of new endemic species have been described since, while knowledge gaps regarding other aspects of the regional ichthyofauna have been filled. To update the status of all native species, their distribution was reviewed by combining published data with new collection records, while extinction risks were determined by applying IUCN Red List criteria during a workshop in Rabat, Morocco. Hotspots of species diversity plus proposed Alliance for Zero Extinction sites (those holding the single remaining population of Endangered or Critically Endangered species) and Key Biodiversity Areas (sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity) were identified based on recently-updated criteria and mapped using a geographic information system. Our results suggest the conservation status of native freshwater fish species in the Maghreb region is undergoing a serious decline. At least six species are extinct, possibly extinct, or extinct in the wild, and a number of others were uplisted based on Red List criteria, i.e., their extinction risk has intensified since the last assessment. A total of sixteen species were assessed for the first time, and the status of several species formerly listed as Data Deficient was resolved. The primary drivers of freshwater fish decline in the region were identified as excessive water abstraction, pollution and the construction of dams, although the unquantified spread of invasive species may also be exerting a significant effect.

Keywords: North African rivers, freshwater fishes, conservation, extinction risk, IUCN Red list, Key biodiversity areas (KBAs), Alliance for Zero Extinction

Conference: XVI European Congress of Ichthyology, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2 Sep - 6 Sep, 2019.

Presentation Type: Oral


Citation: Ford M, Brahimi A, Doadrio I, Perea S, Yahyaoui A and Freyhof J (2019). Freshwater fishes of the Maghreb: distribution, diversity and conservation status. Front. Mar. Sci. Conference Abstract: XVI European Congress of Ichthyology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fmars.2019.07.00136

Copyright: The abstracts in this collection have not been subject to any Frontiers peer review or checks, and are not endorsed by Frontiers. They are made available through the Frontiers publishing platform as a service to conference organizers and presenters.

The copyright in the individual abstracts is owned by the author of each abstract or his/her employer unless otherwise stated.

Each abstract, as well as the collection of abstracts, are published under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 (attribution) licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) and may thus be reproduced, translated, adapted and be the subject of derivative works provided the authors and Frontiers are attributed.

For Frontiers’ terms and conditions please see https://www.frontiersin.org/legal/terms-and-conditions.

Received: 03 Jun 2019; Published Online: 14 Aug 2019.

* Correspondence: Mx. Matthew Ford, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany, ford@igb-berlin.de