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The 10 Most Endangered Fish Species

As sport fishing increases in popularity and more people rely on fishing for food, certain species of fish are nearing the extinction line. Without proper care and attention, these beautiful fish could end up becoming extinct as we lose another species to overfishing and lack of prevention.

Atlantic Halibut

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This is the largest flatfish in the world and it’s rapidly dying out. People continue to hunt this fish for its tasty flesh and its incredible size. They can easily reach up 500 lbs in size. They are unique in that they have both eyes on one side of their head with the left side usually facing down in the water. Over time, their eyes actually migrate to the right side to compensate for its swimming pattern.

Beluga Sturgeon

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This fish sits on the critically endangered list, which classes the most extreme end of the endangered species list. The reason it sits there is because it so heavily fished for its valued caviar. The Russian beluga caviar is primarily derived from this species and lack of prevention has left this fish almost completely wiped out. It lives in the freshwater of the Adriatic and Caspian seas. The caviar is a worldwide delicacy.

Acadian Redfish

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The reason this fish was so close to extinction not too long ago was a combination of reasons. It was slow to become fertile, slow to produce eggs, it was a relatively easy catch and it was tasty as a food fish as well. Without conservation efforts, this fish neared extinction until efforts landed it on the safer side, being declared a rebuilt species in 2012. It’s not out of danger yet and efforts continue to save this species from complete extinction.


Orange Roughy

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The orange roughy can be found in colder waters around the northern Atlantic and the Southern oceans around New Zealand and Australia. It’s notably extreme long life span of 140 years leaves it vulnerable to overfishing. Because it lives so long, it takes a longer time to reach complete maturity and to become fertile enough to reproduce. Fishing these species too early rapidly depletes their numbers and has currently left them listed as “vulnerable to exploitation” unless efforts are increased to rebuild this fish.

Winter Skate

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The winter skate is a species of skate closely related to the manta rays and sting rays. It is a bottom-feeding fish that lives in sandy and rocky conditions. Currently, it sits listed as an endangered species because it is so frequently caught up in lobster traps. Because the winter skate prefers burrowing food, it searches along the ground and gets stuck in the lobster traps that lay in the sand beds.


Bocaccio Rockfish

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The last designation on the endangered list is “critically endangered” which is the last stop for many fish before becoming completely extinct in the wild. The bocaccio rockfish is highly threatened because it has been affected by the violent swings in weather of the El Nino and El Nina temperature conditions. The food the rockfish searches out can’t grow in the changing water temperatures and therefore the rockfish struggles to get enough food to survive.

European Eel


These eels have been a mystery for most of human history. Much was unknown until recently, but their numbers have been dwindling. The eels main factors for reduced numbers, (estimates put it as high as 98%) have been because of hydroelectric dams, pollution in the ocean, and commercial overfishing. The European eel could be destined to remain a mystery if the patterns continue until they die out.

Goliath Grouper

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Currently, the numbers are not so good for the grouper. It has been steadily increasing in numbers when the U.S. began to actively protect and refrain from harvesting this species of fish. They are large, slow to propagate, and typically easily caught and so they could take a few more years to build up enough numbers to get them off the endangered list. As of right now, they can be found in warmer coastal waters around Florida and have been known to attack divers and those who are on a boat charter in deeper waters.


Maltese Ray

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This fish is so sparsely located around Tunisia, Algeria, and Malta that it doesn’t have the location needed to rapidly grow. This fish, once commonly found on supermarket shelves in Italy and Greece, was labeled as a fish that was prone to be overfished and harvested through unsustainable means.




Bluefin Tuna

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The Bluefin tuna has such enormous importance to the Japanese culture of raw food that this fish has been unsustainably fished for sushi and sashimi. It is a large tuna variety that is now banned across most of the world for commercial fishing. Sport fishermen can still use rod-and-reel or harpoon to catch these fish, but numbers have yet to bounce back from the heavy fishing they had undergone.



If you want to catch a glimpse of any of these rare fish, book a charter to head out into the waters around South Florida with Seahorse Fishing Adventures. Our local knowledge and expert crew will keep you and up to 11 of your friends entertained with a perfect day out on the open ocean. Book a charter boat for your private fishing guide today.


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