With more than 520 known freshwater fish species, among which 163 are endemic, Central Mexico is considered as a hotspot for freshwater fish conservation.


Central Mexico is facing an accelerated damaging of its watercourses, notably because of agricultural pollution and the use of pesticides. This degradation has already led to the extinction in the wild of several Goodeidae species, including the Tequila fish (Zoogoneticus tequila).

Conservation actions

Created in 1998 by the law and social science university of Michoacán, the Fish Ark Project has allowed to breed and maintain in captivity many freshwater fish species highly threatened or extinct in Mexico.

Since 2011, a breeding program focused on the Tequila fish has been carried out in two large ponds where individuals are maintained in semi-captivity conditions: they can interact with rivals and predators and have to face environmental changes but are supplied with natural food.

About 17 years after the launch of this breeding program, the reintroduction phase can begin. The objective is to reintroduce Tequila fish in the Rio Teuchitlan, in Mexico. To this end, an environmental study will be carried out and will include a complete analyse of this environment and an evaluation of the interactions between the individuals and the habitat. Food supply, concurrence with indigenous and exotic species, the presence of potential parasites, water quality and the presence of aquatic plants will also be studied.

An education program among the local communities will finally complete these actions, in order to make them aware of the importance to reintroduce endemic species and to conserve the natural wet areas where they live.

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