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Imperiled Fish Species (freshwater)

Imperiled Fish Species (freshwater)

A formal review process led by Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program was conducted in 2014 and 2015 to determine the status of our native freshwater fishes.  The procedure is known as the Delphi Technique.  It is a systematic method for reaching consensus among experts in which absolute, quantitative answers are either unknown or unattainable.  It is an iterative process characterized by anonymity among the participating experts, controlled feedback via the principal investigator, and a statistical estimator of group opinion.  By structuring the group communication process, the Delphi Technique helps the group reach a consensus of opinion by incorporating all available data and disseminating those data among all participants.  To assist the Delphi efforts, the NJFW created species distribution maps using GIS, based on data collected from 2000 through 2012.  In addition to data collected by the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries Research and Management Unit, data were supplied by the Department’s Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring, the Pinelands Commission, and United States Geological Survey.  Results informed the update of the New Jersey’s State Wildlife Action Plan.

Fifty-three species were reviewed and consensus was reached on 48:

  • 2 species were ranked Endangered
  • 1 species was ranked Threatened
  • 5 species were ranked Special Concern
  • 36 species were ranked Secure/Stable
  • 4 were ranked Not Applicable because they either no longer occur in NJ or are considered non-native
  • 5 species remained unresolved after four rounds

For the full report, click here.

The following recommendations were made by the Committee for adoption of the statuses reached by consensus of the Delphi Panel, as well as the status for five species in which no consensus was satisfied during the Delphi review:

Endangered (Candidate):

  Bridle Shiner                           Ironcolor Shiner

Threatened (Candidate):

  Slimy Sculpin

Special Concern (Candidate):

American Brook LampreyComely ShinerNorthern Hog Sucker
Blackbanded SunfishMud SunfishShield Darter
Brook Trout  


American EelEastern Silvery MinnowSea Lamprey
Banded KillifishFallfishSpotfin Shiner
Banded SunfishGolden ShinerSpottail Shiner
Blacknose DaceLongnose DaceSwallowtail Shiner
Bluespotted SunfishMargined MadtomSwamp Darter
Brown BullheadMummichogTadpole Madtom
Chain PickerelPirate PerchTessellated Darter
Common ShinerPumpkinseedWhite Catfish
Creek ChubQuillbackWhite Perch
Creek ChubsuckerRedbreast SunfishWhite Sucker
Cutlip MinnowRedfin PickerelYellow Bullhead
Eastern MudminnowSatinfin ShinerYellow Perch

Uncertain/Unknown Status:

  Eastern Mosquitofish

Not Applicable (Non-Native):

Black Bullhead  Bluntnose MinnowBowfin Longnose Gar  Pearl Dace

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625
Last Update: June 23rd, 2022