Arctic Council logo

Freshwater and diadromous fishes in the Arctic ecosystem

This article is part of a series highlighting issues from the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group’s landmark Arctic Biodiversity Assessment. This week focuses on Arctic fishes.

Diadromous fish species move between fresh and salt water over the course of their life history. Approximately 127 freshwater and diadromous fish species inhabit Arctic waters. These fish are particularly important as food to humans both within the Arctic and elsewhere. The cultural importance is significant as well, and some species could be considered Arctic “icons”, such as salmon in Norway, whitefish in Russia, or Arctic char in Canada.

Freshwater and diadromous fishes are vulnerable to stressors, including from industry, physical disturbances, climate change, habitat change, acidification, and invasive species. Lakes are often isolated, making it difficult for species to migrate to avoid the effects of stressors and sometimes rivers can be said to “export” the effects of stressors downstream.

Click here to read more in the “Fishes” chapter of the ABA.

For more biodiversity graphics, please visit the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service.