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Group seeks to protect roundtail chub in Arizona, New Mexico

(Twitter Photo/@USFWSPacSWest)

PHOENIX — A nonprofit conservation group called upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the roundtail chub, a large minnow found in Arizona and some parts of New Mexico.

The Center for Biological Diversity announced plans Monday for legal action.

The center said the chub faces threats including habitat destruction, invasive species and climate change and should be protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The USFWS recognized it as a Category 2 candidate for the ESA in 1982, which meant the protection of the animal “might be warranted but the agency lacked sufficient information,” according to the CBD. In 1996, the chub was removed from this category.

In 2009, the USFWS said the chub in the lower Colorado River area was a “listable entry” to the ESA, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, and it returned to the candidate list.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department categorizes the chub as a sport fish, noting they “readily take” lures and “put up a strong fight.”

The Center for Biological Diversity said the fish historically was found throughout the lower Colorado River basin, but has now been reduced to a fraction of its range and abundance. It says the fish was once an important food source for native people.

According to the USFWS, the fish only occupies 18 percent of its historical range in the lower Colorado River.

USFWS spokesperson Jeff Humphrey says the agency does not comment on current or potential litigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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