Why the Paddlefish is under Threat of Extinction

The paddle-fish is related to the family of ray-finned fish. This species of fish have a large mouth and a very long snout that is similar to a spatula.  This makes them quite easy to distinguish from other fish. Some of their body parts are similar to those of a shark, but they are not related to sharks at all. These fish have a lifespan of 50 years or more. There are only two species of paddle-fish and they are the Chinese paddle-fish and the American paddle-fish. In the United States river systems, these fish were very abundant in the past. They are one of the largest freshwater fish. Recently their populations have been declining fast.

River modifications are just one reason why these fish are threatened to become extinct. Paddle fish have electromagnetic sense organs. When dams are constructed on river systems, these fish avoid fish ladders because of the metal that is used in the construction of the dams. This is because the metal disrupts their sense organs. When they avoid the fish ladders, their migration routes are also disrupted, and this plays a very important part in the fish spawning process. When the spawning is disrupted, the fish cannot reproduce. It takes many years before paddle-fish are even able to spawn.

Other reasons for their declining populations are sedimentation and over-harvesting. The paddle-fish are freshwater fish that can reach a length of five feet or more. Some states have reduced sport-fish harvesting of the paddle-fish because of their declining population. In some states, paddle-fish are listed as a protected species. They are highly sought after because of their eggs, caviar. The caviar from the paddle-fish have been harvested since 1989. Their eggs are really valuable and they are usually targeted by poachers.

Habitat destruction and water temperature are other reasons that lead to the fish declining populations. In many areas, these fish are illegal to fish for. Paddle-fish fishing activity should be reported to wildlife officials. Many efforts are being taken to protect the paddle-fish from becoming extinct. Some states reward people who report illegal paddle-fishing activity. River dredging is another reason for reducing paddle-fish spawning grounds. The paddle-fish is one of the most important fish for freshwater caviar. Another fish that is highly sought after for caviar is the sturgeon. Four or five species of paddle-fish are already extinct and that is the main reason the last two species are being protected.