A book introducing 52 recently discovered kinds of Taiwanese freshwater fish and four new species was recently released by the government in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of protecting endangered native fish species.
The book, titled Red Data Book of Freshwater Fish in Taiwan, was commissioned by the Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau and took an oceanography research team five years to complete, Forestry Bureau Deputy Director-General Yang Hung-chih (楊宏志) said.
The research group included marine biology professor Chen I-shiung (陳義雄) from National Taiwan Ocean University and Shao Kwang-tsao (邵廣昭), a research fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institution.
According to the research group, the recently discovered 52 types of fish outlined in the book brings the total kinds of freshwater fish in Taiwan to 270, 10 of which are endangered, Yang said.
While conducting a nationwide survey for the book, the group also discovered four new species of fish, Yang said.
In addition, the team also found that the population of the endangered Metzia mesembrinum species — which lives in rivers on the outlying islands of Kinmen County — has declined to about 460 fish, or 5 percent of their usual population, due to construction projects being carried out near the river, said Tzeng Chyng-shyang (曾晴賢), an associate professor at National Tsing Hua University.
Next month, the research team will travel to Kinmen as part of an effort to save the endangered fish from extinction, Tzeng said.