The giant Chinese paddlefish, sometimes known as the Chinese swordfish, has officially gone extinct due to disruption from human activity, a new report has found.
The species was declared extinct in a new report published this week by the Science of The Total Environment, with study leader Qiwei Wei of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences calling the loss of one of the largest freshwater fishes, “reprehensible and irreparable.”
The fish was deemed “functionally extinct,” meaning the species was unable to reproduce to sustainable numbers, in 1993, and researchers say that no giant paddlefish have been seen in China’s Yangtze River — where the fish are typically found — since 2003.
Scientists also estimate that the last fish of its kind likely died between 2005 and 2010.
The species managed to survive for at least 150 million years before being declared extinct, researchers note.
According to the report, the giant fish could grow to be 23 feet in length and was nicknamed the “water tiger” for its impeccable speed.
Researchers believe that over-fishing was a major factor in the paddlefish’s extinction, as well as the building of a 1981 dam that split the Yangtze in two.
Fish expert Zeb Hogan told National Geographic Wednesday that there is “no hope of recovery” for the paddlefish, and the “definitive loss of a very unique and extraordinary animal” is “very sad.”
CBS News reported that the reeves shad and the Yangtze dolphin — two other species native to the Yangtze River — have been declared functionally extinct as well.
To try and combat the issue of these extinctions, China announced a 10-year fishing ban in certain areas of the river to protect the area’s biodiversity.