The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC)/Wetland International (WI) Freshwater Fish Specialist Group (FFSG) was initiated in 2004 and managed jointly by the IUCN SSC and WI. The IUCN-FFSG has a mission of achieving conservation and sustainable use of freshwater fishes and their habitats through generating and disseminating sound scientific knowledge, creating widespread awareness of their values and influencing decision making process at all levels. The IUCN-FFSG is based at Chester Zoo, North of England Zoological Society in Chester, United Kingdom, with Prof. Gordon McGregor Reid as the Chair and Dr. Katalin Csatadi as the Program Officer.

FFSG has 19 regions word-wide, with the activities of each region being coordinated by a Chair or Co-Chairs. K. Remadevi, Retired Scientist of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) served as the First Chair of the South Asia region from 2004 to 2012.

As a result of the growing interest and increased need for awareness, capacity building and research concerning freshwater biodiversity in the South Asia region, a regional office of the IUCN-FFSG was set up at the Zoo Outreach Organization (ZOO) in Coimbatore in October 2012. The South Asia Office has also initiated the Freshwater Fish Conservation Network of South Asia (FFCNSA). Apart from identifying and coordinating a network of ichthyologists who will work together to raise the profile for freshwater fish conservation in this region, some of the proposed activities of the FFSG South Asia and FFCNSA include: i) updating species pages and assessments of the conservation status of newly described species in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (in collaboration with the IUCN FBU, Cambridge); ii) organizing training programs and workshops in fish taxonomy and systematics as well as other topics relevant to the objectives of the IUCN-FFSG; iii) publishing a half yearly newsletter and iv) developing education and outreach materials relevant to freshwater biodiversity conservation.

Waikhom Viswanath, Professor of Life Sciences at the University of Manipur, Imphal, Manipur, India and Rajeev Raghavan, Researcher at the Conservation Research Group, St. Albert’s College, Kochi, Kerala, India have been appointed the Co-Chairs to the South Asia Region for the Quadrennium 2013-2016.

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