WASHINGTON (AP) The muskie, an American fish prized for its deep, bright color and long life, is disappearing from the coast of British Columbia, and fishermen are calling it “one of the most heartbreaking deaths in modern times.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed that the muskie was killed off the coast on Thursday by an offshore trawl, but the agency is not releasing the species’ name or cause of death.
“The species has been severely diminished by trawling, commercial fishing and pollution, which is why it is now the most endangered muskie fish on the West Coast,” said Bill Brown, the agency’s director of the Pacific Northwest.
“We can’t know exactly how the species was affected.”
The dead muskie is part of a population that’s been steadily decreasing in recent decades as the world’s oceans have warmed.
The species was thought to be at a healthy range of 5 to 10 percent, but in recent years, it’s been on the decline.
A dead muskee is part that population.
It was listed in the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 1979 and is listed on the U,S.
Endangered Species List, but it has fallen to less than 5 percent.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says there are about 250,000 muskees in the wild, down from more than 1 million in the 1970s.
“There’s a lot of concern about the extinction of the species, and it’s going to be an enormous challenge for conservation,” said John H. Thompson, executive director of Greenpeace Canada.
The muskie died off the west coast of B.C. on Thursday.
Its death was confirmed by a U.K.-based trawl company.
It’s believed to have been hit by a trawl net in a commercial fishing area off B.D. Howe Sound.
The government says the muskox are protected under the Endangered Wildlife Act.
The fish, which measures about 4 feet (1 meter) long, are known for their deep, dark color and light body and long fins.
The U,K.-listed fish is one of only three species to be found in the British Columbia waters.
It is a member of the genus Algis.
The other two are the blue muskie and the red muskie.
Muskie fish are native to the waters of the Arctic and northern Canada, but their numbers have declined in recent times.
The global warming that has altered the environment is making them more vulnerable to disease and pollution.
They can also be dangerous, especially in large numbers, since they feed on fish that are more difficult to catch.
The International Union of Conservation of Natural Resources has said muskies are being caught in the Pacific Ocean at a higher rate than anywhere else on the planet.