Save the fish! And block the dams!

threadfin-rainbowfishBy Flick Ford

I’m a naturalist, natural history painter, advocate of fish and author of WILD, 75 Freshwater Tropical Fish of the World, which covers the life history of 75 popular freshwater tropical fish and their current status in the wild. Tropical Rainforest Rivers are the first link in the rainforest to reef interplay that affects the health of the global aquatic biome. My next book will concentrate on tropical saltwater reef fish. Often the issues that affect tropical fish are also social justice issues for people as well.

Like most people I had never heard of the United Nations World Water Day traditionally held around March 22nd annually. What immediately came to mind is two potentially very bad things as far as wild tropical fish are concerned: the first: hydroelectricity; the second: gas and oil exploration and extraction. Very few people have heard of the proposed Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in Brazil or the 5 oil spills in the Nigerian Delta by Royal Dutch Shell Oil since the mid-‘50s.

emperor-tetraHydroelectricity requires dam building. In an era when dams are coming down because of public awareness that dams stop fish from reaching spawning grounds, I wanted to know, “is the United Nations hosting a day promoting them?”Indeed, the “advocacy guide” for the day, reads like a “how-to” manual for hydroelectric PR. This type of industrial international advocacy has grave legal consequences for both tropical fish and people in the tropics. In the first quarter of 2014, in a massive twist of RICO’s intent Chevron managed to get a US judge to rule as criminals critics of Chevron’s 18 Billion gallon toxic oil waste poisoning of the Amazon.

super-red-arowanaI’ve written the UN a letter and what I hope comes out of it is that conservation organizations join me in calling for a day for freshwater fish of the world. I know the UN is not the appropriate forum to realize conservation goals for wild freshwater fish. It has become a toothless enforcer of social justice issues and acts as a gateway for imperialist ambitions. And to devote one day a year to something as vital to life everyday as water is hardly an adequate devotion. Please see the cover letter and press release at my website: I hope you join me in calling for a day to advocate for freshwater fish of the world.



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