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Five Fish Desperate for Healthy HabitatJuly 24, 2012
Healthy habitat is vital to abundant fisheries and marine life. Fish use habitat to feed, grow, reproduce, and raise their young so these places need to be in good condition for fish populations to survive and thrive.
Fish that migrate between the ocean and freshwater streams such as Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, blueback herring, alewife, and American eel have declined as a result of culverts, weirs, dams, and man-made barriers to migration and spawning.
Golden tilefish dig holes in sand, burrow under rocks, or find a cave or canyon—building pueblos in which to live. Once they do, they hunker-down and don’t move. So this species was especially threatened by the Deepwater BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico because unlike other fish species, they were unlikely to move away from oiled habitat.
Many populations of Pacific salmon are in serious decline and are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act due to habitat loss and degradation, barriers to migration, overharvest, and other factors.
Snake River steelhead, Chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, and many other species of fish that migrate between freshwater and saltwater are in serious decline because of the numerous barriers along the Snake River and tributaries, as well as barriers outside the region along the lower Columbia River. Some populations are so low they have been listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Click on a fish photo for more information about a particular species.