Conservation

Conservation status

A. iberus is on the IUCN red list of endangered species. DD (IUCN 2004). EN B1+2bcd in the Red List of freshwater fish from Spain (Doadrio 2002).

A. iberus is included into the Annexes II and III of The Bern Convention (1979) and in the Annexe II of the European Council Directive (1992/43/EEC).

At national level, it is included in the Spanish National Catalogue of Threatened Species. In Spain, when a species is considered an endangered species, regional autonomous governments are obliged to develop a Recovery Plan. In this way, since 1994 conservation plans have been developed in their first phases by different autonomous environmental agencies.

Recently, a LIFE-nature project (LIFE04 NAT/ES/000035) has begun exclusive efforts to increase the survival of two defined genetic units of A.iberus in the Murcian region.

Threats

A. iberus is threatened due to their limited and isolated distribution. During the last three decades there has been a progessive loss and alteration of its habitat especially as a result of an intensive agriculture and tourism development.

Current threats to its habitats and its populations include:

  • destruction of habitats
  • water pollution (e.g. nitrate input increment from golf resorts)
  • introduction of exotic species, mainly Gambusia holbrooki (Agassiz, 1859) which appear to have displaced A. iberus from its habitat (Rincón et al. 2002)

Inland populations are restricted to small creeks and are threatened by the depletion of water levels in local aquifers; its survival depends on strict control over the use of groundwater resources. The loss of traditional salt exploitation mines, as an important coastal habitat for the species, is another threat.