The Catalogue of the Fishes of Colombia will be a digital tool aggregating knowledge about all marine and freshwater fish species in Colombia. Bringing together over 50 specialists in neotropical ichthyology from seven countries, this initiative will create a national checklist and species pages for all of Colombia’s estimated 3,800 fish species, including information on taxonomy, distribution, trophic and reproductive information, conservation status and relevant literature.
The Catalogue will be the authoritative resource on Colombian fishes and its impact will be maximized via implementation of application programming interfaces (APIs), designed in consultation with the project partners. The data will be updated as new species are added to Colombian checklists and when relevant information is published.
The project will include direct interaction and feedback with Colombia’s Biodiversity Information System (SiB Colombia) and Marine Biodiversity Information System (SiBM). Working with partners in government and the research community, the project team will ensure effective data flows and communication so the catalogue may support decision-making and conservation policies consistent with the National Policy for Integral Management of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (PNGIBSE).
As the go-to resource for complete and up-to-date information on fish diversity in Colombia, the catalogue will be a fundamental tool for identifying conservation priorities and understanding the roles that species play in their respective ecosystems. It will aid in the management of fisheries and hydrobiological resources and will provide information regarding threatened and invasive species.
Systems integration is planned with the Ministry of the Environment (MADS), the National Fisheries Authority (AUNAP) and the National Natural Parks (PNN). The Catalog will also be of use to Colombia’s Regional Autonomous Corporations (CARs), the scientific community and members of the general public.
An updated checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of Colombia was published at the end of 2021, representing a major contribution to the backbone of the Catalogue. The front end of the Catalogue is in development, but the back end now is complete and includes an interface for the authors and editors to enter and edit data.
To date the project assigned 84% of these species to authors to complete the species pages and 17% have been completed. Data for an additional 15% of species (endemics) will be reused from SiB Colombia.
Significant progress has been made on the checklist of Pacific fishes of Colombia, including 844 species, which will be submitted by 30 June 2022. The checklist of Caribbean fishes will be finalized by August 2022, and the dataset will be submitted to GBIF by December 2022. It will include approximately 1355 species. The project expects to publish an additional occurrence dataset through a collaboration with the Universidad del Valle, which is the most important repository of fish specimens from the Pacific region.