A tiny Virginia fish needs protection under the Endangered Species Act

Margaret Minnicks

tiny fishPhoto bysohrab ziaonUnsplash

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on March 20, 2023, that a tiny fish may need protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is the primary law in the United States for protecting imperiled species. It was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation. The Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for legal protection for the fish in March 2022. In response to the order a year later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether the fish will be proposed for protection as an endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity explained:

“Endangered Species Act protection is the most powerful tool we have to prevent animals from going extinct, so it’s great news that the roughhead shiner is officially on the path to protection. Federal wildlife officials need to move quickly to prevent these tiny fish from going extinct.”

About the tiny fish

The tiny 3-inch roughhead shiner, named for the bumps on its head, is an olive minnow found only in the upper James River watershed in western Virginia. It lives in the Cowpasture River and the tributary creeks in Alleghany, Bath, and Craig counties where it is being displaced by an invasive fish, the telescope shiner.

The tiny fish was first threatened 50 years ago and was put on a waiting list for ESA protection in 1994. The state of Virginia identified it as a species of critical concern, but there were no funds for monitoring or restoration at that time. Now, the Endangered Species Act protection will make funding available to keep the fish from becoming extinct.

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I love pop culture, movies, television, and entertainment. I keep up to date on the latest movies and television shows. I like sharing news about them. I also like sharing information about different foods and their health benefits. I have been a high school teacher and a college professor for over 50 years and an online writer for over 30 years. I have three degrees: BA in English and Literature, MA in Christian Education, and MDiv in Theology. Get to know me through my writing.

Richmond, VA

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