The Coelacanth is a very old fish with records dating back to 400 million years ago. Considered to be a living fossil, and were thought to have gone extinct in the Cretaceous period. Which is about 66 million years ago, but was recently found again in 1938. Most commonly found in coastal regions around south Africa, Indian ocean, and the West ocean. The Coelacanth has very thick scales and can live for around 60 years. As well as grow up to 200 pounds and span upwards of seven feet long.
There are currently two surviving species of the Coelacanth left. The ‘Latimeria Chalumnae’ and the ‘Sulawesi’, both of which are one the IUCN red list labeled as vulnerable. For those who don’t know the ICUN (Red List of Threatened Species) is a company that has been given the task of keeping track of the global conservation status of various species. Coelacanth are commonly being accidentally caught in nets from fishers trying to hunt sharks in the Indian ocean and now climate change is causing most of these fish to migrate from where they commonly reside. There are some trade ban laws on these fish, but they aren’t followed very well in places of the coast of South Africa. With populations as low as 230 fish left in the species. On the bright side scientist are trying to pass a new law to have the fish labeled as “threatened” to then gain ESA protection (Endangered Species Act). This may not be all that is needed to help fix the population but it is a great step in the right way.
The Napoleon Wrasse, also known as the Humphead Wrasse, is another fish undergoing conservation in most countries. They can commonly be found living in coral reefs in the pacific ocean. The fish can grow up to seven feet long and can live for up to 50 years. The fish itself is physically known for having big lips, black lines behind its eyes and most known for the massive hump on it’s forehead. Color wise the fish can be found as green and different shades of blue. Most Wrasse will live in small schools for protection from predators and will hide in the reefs.
The reason I choose to bring light to this fish is because it is also on the IUCN Red list. For those who don’t know the ICUN (Red List of Threatened Species) is a company that has been given the task of keeping track of the global conservation status of various species. This means they keep track of how close species are to becoming extinct, and to reduce the threat on those species. The Napoleon Wrasse is labeled as endangered on the red list. This is because of the death of most of the coral reef in Southeast Asia, the use of very harmful fishing strategies used by fishers in Asia, overfishing, aquarium trading, and poor rules set by governments on these costal regions. The aquarium trading market has seen a huge boom in the last couple years and the prices of these exotic species has increased greatly since the discovery of these beautiful fish.
The Beluga Sturgeon, although being discovered in the 1950’s has been on earth since the Triassic period. Which is about 245 million years ago, of course the beluga sturgeon isn’t the same as it was 245 million years ago. The sturgeon has survived since then evolving to become a massive fish with a hard boney exterior armor plates. The sturgeon can commonly be found on the coast of North America and Eurasia. What makes this fish incredibly interesting is that it can live for more than 100 years and range up to 12 feet long. After learning that I didn’t think much else could surprise me about this fish, but then I found the world record for the biggest sturgeon caught. The biggest sturgeon ever caught weighed 3,463 pounds and was 24 feet long. This blew my mind, I wonder how they caught a fish of this size and how long it would’ve taken. I thought catching tuna was hard, this must’ve blow that straight out of the water.
I chose to write about this incredible animal because it is now critically endangered according to multiple world wide red list. According to the IUCN “18 species of sturgeon from all over Europe and Asia and found that all were threatened.” Also according to the same organization the other 27 species of sturgeon are on the red list labeled as critically endangered, like I previously mentioned. Sturgeons are commonly illegally captured for the wild caviar they can produce from their eggs. Which is big money in most Asian countries. Lastly the sturgeon around the world suffer from overfishing and destruction of habitats from pollution forcing the fish to live in unhealthy environments.