The largest freshwater fish died out

Scientists around the world are sounding the alarm - the extinction of living species is at a tremendous speed. The beginning of this year (and the new decade) brought sad news - in China, the endemic species of fish called the Chinese paddlefish was recognized as completely extinct.

“The Yangtze River ecosystem was a haven for diverse aquatic fauna,” says an article in the journal Science of the Total Environment. “However, the increasing effects of various anthropogenic stressors have led to a continuing decline in its biodiversity.”

Overfishing, active shipping, pollution and the construction of dams - all together led to the extinction of some unique endemic species that lived in Yanzi, including river dolphins. Now recognized as extinct and Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), which were perhaps the largest freshwater fish in the world. Their average size was 3-4 meters in length with a mass of about 250 kilograms. The largest instance reached 7 meters.

The live paddlefish was last seen in 2003, since 2017, scientists have tried to find these fish in rivers and ponds, as well as in fish markets, but the search was unsuccessful.

Since specialists did not manage to find a single paddlefish that would be kept in captivity, and living tissue that could be used to restore the species was not preserved, in accordance with the Red Book criteria, Chinese paddlefish were recognized extinct.

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