Fish Net - UK and Europe

Corfu Killifish Valencia Letourneuxi in ZSL London Zoo

Fish Net is a consortium of zoos, aquaria, research centres and universities, initiated by ZSL, that aims to save vulnerable freshwater fish species from extinction. We are using a dynamic programme of captive breeding, education and outreach, research and field conservation initiatives in a number of target countries. Fish Net will provide the only option to save many critically endangered fishes that are on the brink of extinction.

Why we are there

The plight of freshwater fish is extremely serious, though receives little publicity. Of the 5096 freshwater species assessed by the IUCN, 2506 are threatened, and 688 endangered, critically endangered or extinct in the wild. This global problem is primarily due to water pollution, damming and drainage of waterways, and invasive species.

Key Achievements and Goals

Our key sites are in Greece, Turkey and Mexico. In each location, we follow a programme of habitat surveys, monitoring, captive breeding, population rescues and raising awareness for the most threatened and neglected freshwater fish species. Greece is the flagship Fish Net programme, that started with a survey of the Corfu killifish in Western Greece in 2005. In Turkey, we are currently focusing on the Anatolian lakes region, but hope to include species further east in the near future.

Captive Breeding at ZSL London Zoo

As the leading organisation in Fish Net, ZSL runs breeding programmes for freshwater fish species on the brink of extinction. The Aquarium at ZSL London Zoo breeds 14 species, including the Corfu killifish, Mexican pupfish and livebearers, 5 of which are extinct in the wild. You can see this critical breeding work in action at the Zoo.

Project information

Key species

Fish Net is focusing on species of killifish and livebearers that are critically endangered or extinct in the wild. They are notable for inhabiting harsh environments and are often considered important indicators for ecosystem health.

People involved

ZSL’s Brian Zimmerman is the manager of Fish Net

Partners and Sponsors

Vienna Zoo, Chester Zoo, Bristol Zoo, Hacettepe University, Doga Dernegi, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research

Kindly funded by: Darwin Scoping Grant; Mohammed bin Zayed Species Fund; EUAC; Swedish Postcode Lottery Foundation; Darwin Initiative