GNF - Fish Stocks in the Rio Magdalena in Colombia

Climate Change threatens Biodiversity

and Livelihoods on the Río Magdalena


"Climate change and overfishing are leading to the dramatic decline of fish stocks in Colombia's lifeline, the Magdalena River. The people here are feeling the effects bitterly. That's why we want to stop the decline of endangered species like the tiger catfish. This is the only way we can preserve livelihoods for future generations. My request: Help us with this important task for the future!", says Julia Pérez Sillero, project manager of Fundación Humedales, the GNF partner in Colombia.

Climate Change destroys Habitats

The Río Magdalena is Colombia's most important river. With its floodplains, it forms a unique biotope that is home to a large number of endangered species. Whether tiger catfish, river turtle or brown spider monkey, all live from the Río Magdalena. But even this South American paradise is threatened from many sides, for example by the spread of the invasive water hyacinth, overfishing and the establishment of palm oil plantations. Global climate change is the main reason why fish stocks are declining rapidly. As a result of higher temperatures, the spawning times of the different fish species living in the river are shifted and the fish stocks can no longer regenerate.

The Tiger Catfish as a Symbol

The tiger catfish is the bread and butter fish of the people living along the Río Magdalena. Among the more than 50 economically important species, the tabby predatory fish stands out. It accounts for 60 percent of the total catch and the mostly poor families depend on the yield. But it too is severely affected by climate change. Our project partners have found that stocks of the freshwater fish are in a bad way.

The Ecological Cycle is destroyed!

The people in the catchment area of the Río Magdalena have always lived from and with the fish. Their nets have larger meshes so that small fish can slip through. They have established quiet zones and closed seasons to protect the spawning grounds. However, climate change is destroying this previously functioning cycle. 90 percent of the inhabitants depend on fishing as their only source of income. The decline in fish stocks means that fishing families are forced to fish during closed seasons. This in turn disrupts fish reproduction, creating a vicious circle.

Strong together for People and Nature

Together with our long-standing local partner, the Fundación Humedales, we are implementing measures along the Río Magdalena that will secure a sustainable future for the people and protect nature. In the communities of Bocas del Carare, San Rafael de Chucurí, Opón and Barrancabermeja, we will establish alternative income opportunities, e.g. in sustainable tourism, develop strategies to control and conserve fish stocks and improve coordination between the fishing villages. In this way, we will help secure the income of 5,000 people. If we get all the villages on board, the fish stocks can recover, securing the livelihoods of up to 35,000 people in the Río Magdalena catchment area.

It's about more

Securing the world's food supply is a major task for the future. We want this to happen in harmony with nature. With a project donation, you can help us to combat the serious consequences of climate change at the Río Magdalena.

Every Contribution counts

Here are some examples of how your donation will help:

  • Purchase of a satellite phone to improve communication.
    Your contribution: 20 Euro
  • Contribution to the implementation of so-called "catfish tables", which serve the transfer of knowledge and communication between the fishing villages involved in the project.
    Your contribution: 50 Euro
  • Contribution to the implementation of a pilot project for aquaculture as an alternative source of income.
    Your contribution: 100 Euro
  • Contribution for a boat used for fishing, rental or environmentally friendly tourist tours.
    Your contribution: 500 Euro

The month of May is the spawning season of the tiger catfish in the Río Magdalena. It is very important for us to achieve first successes until then in cooperation with the fishing villages.
Will you help us?

Donation Account

Global Nature Fund

GLS-Bank Bochum

IBAN: DE 53 4306 0967 8040 4160 00


Donation Purpose: Río Magdalena – Colombia

 Julia Pérez Sillero, project manager of Fundación Humedales, on the way on the Río Magdalena.
 The colorful yellow-breasted macaw lives in the forests along the Río Magdalena.
 Fishermen on the Río Magdalena
 The tiger catfish is the bread fish of the people of Río Magdalena.

© Charlotte Bleijenberg –

 Fish are the most important source of income for the inhabitants of the Río Magdalena.
 Our project area on the Río Magdalena in Colombia.
 Brown spider monkeys are comfortable in the thickets of the forest.
 Tiger catfish reach a considerable size.

Global Nature Fund (GNF)

Contact person: Ms. Manuela Uhde

Head of Marketing, Finances and Administration

Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4

78315 Radolfzell, Germany

Phone: +49 7732 9995 85

Fax: +49 7732 9995 88



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