Freshwater Biodiversity in Asia, with Special Reference to Fish
Authors: Kottelat, Maurice; Whitten, Tony
Publication date: September 1996
The purpose of this report is to give attention to Asian freshwater biodiversity. Asia is home to some 3500 species of fishes, hundreds of other organisms which spend their entire lives in water, and to many types of freshwater habitats. Many of these are of considerable economic values and are an important source of food for many poor people. This freshwater biodiversity can be adversely affected by many types of projects. Current international agreements and World Bank policies support actions to consider and conserve freshwater biodiversity. Freshwater biodiversity concerns are not always wholly addressed by attention to fisheries management or wetland conservation. The countries of Asia differ in their national capacity and expertise in freshwater biodiversity. Straightforward and relatively inexpensive steps to ameliorate the situation are: a) encouraging awareness of and attention to freshwater biodiversity issues; b) acknowledging that in order to make appropriate environmental management decisions it is important to collect good and current data; c) executing studies to understand the economic value of freshwater biodiversity; d) preparing field guides and manuals; e) nurturing partnerships between engineers and biodiversity specialists to achieve better project designs and more effective mitigation measures; and f) encouraging the release of scientific data collected by project proponents as part of environmental assessments.