London, September 22 : A report commissioned by the American Fisheries Society has warned that the number of North American freshwater species in danger of extinction, in at least part of their range, has nearly doubled since 1989.
According to a report in New Scientist, 33 per cent of fish have seen their conservation status grow more dire, while only 6 per cent have seen an improvement.
"Habitat loss due to humanity's growing thirst for water is the root cause of the problem," said Noel Burkhead from the US Geological Survey in Gainesville, Florida, and one of the report's lead authors.
Fish are not the first to feel the squeeze. Many freshwater mussel and snail species have previously become endangered for the same reasons, but the warning was ignored.
"The pattern we observed in snails and mussels is now being observed in fishes," said Burkhead. "Unless we somehow change the way we interact with the landscape, fish extinctions are going to dramatically increase," he added.