According to the World Fish Organization, fish is an important daily source of animal protein for a surprising number of poor people – more than 1 billion. This is mainly because fish are less expensive than other sources of animal protein. At the same time, people who want to follow a healthy diet consume fish because it contains a great number of nutrients – Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D and B2, as well as a mineral like zinc, magnesium, iron, etc.
Differences Between Freshwater and Saltwater Fish
Fish are found in both freshwater and saltwater but there are significant differences between them. Freshwater fish live in lakes, rivers, or streams with a salinity < 0.1% while saltwater fish can be found in cold oceans or tropical seas.
- Gills particularities freshwater fish use gills to diffuse water and so they are capable of keeping the body fluids inside. On the other hand, due to osmosis, seawater fish lose body fluids through gills and so, to replace the fluids, they consume great quantities of saltwater.
- Kidneys particularities: in order to recover salt from the internal fluids (before excretion), freshwater fish have more developed kidneys.
Fact: more than 40% of known species live in fresh water This means there are around 13,000 species found in this habitat. The rest of fish is found in salt water – approximately 18,000 species. According to the statistics, more than 139 million freshwater fish currently live in America.
Native and Non-Native Freshwater Fish
Both native and non-native fish live in freshwater. Native fish naturally occur in their habitat without any human intervention. There have been numerous actions taken by man to protect the native fish and to prevent the declining of their population. Native fish are very important for many points of view.
Main Benefits of Freshwater Fish
- Affordable food source: native fish are a convenient and affordable food source for many people around the globe who struggle with poverty.
- Leisure purposes: people have been fishing for a long time now and not only for eating but also for relaxing. This outdoor sport is very popular among men in particular as it is a great way of relaxation. You can either sit by the lake to catch fish or take a boat and explore the diversity of the lake or river for finding the best fishing place.
- Healthy aquatic ecosystems: native fish contribute to a healthier aquatic environment. More variety of species help maintain an equilibrium in the ecosystem. There are some species that live in one habitat only, making it unique in this world.
- Economical value: being an important food source, fish can also support the economy, contributing to the prosperity of a region.
The Most Common Species of Freshwater Fish in the USA
The list is very long but here are some of the most common freshwater fish you can find in the USA and not only.
- In coldwater: these species live in waters with temperatures between 50 to 60 °F. Therefore, they can be found in the north and south of the USA. The most common species are brook and brown trout, as well as rainbow trout.
- In coolwater: they like water temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 °F and are usually found in the North American regions. There you can find species like yellow perch, walleye, or muskellunge.
- In warmwater: they prefer warmer water temperatures – approximately 80 °F. Here you can find species like crappies, catfish, or bluegill.
Ways to Provide Favorable Environment for Native Fish
All people can help protect fish population around the globe. This can be done by simply being more conscious of our actions.
- Preserve water quality: water can be easily polluted with all sorts of fishing baits that can eventually kill fish. Less pollutions means a healthier habitat for the fish.
- Improving creeks and dams: unfortunately, deteriorated dams and creeks can really affect the fish natural habitat. Restoring them can contribute to a safer environment.
Native freshwater fish play an important role in maintaining an ecological balance. There have been multiple studies conducted to find out more about native fish and their many benefits. Protecting them is the most efficient way to provide them with a healthy habitat and support and increase native freshwater fish population.