Amazon survey investigates fish and communities in region targeted for hydropower development

May 19, 2014 by Denise Oliveira
Amazon survey investigates fish and communities in region targeted for hydropower development
Salto Augusto falls. Credit: Zig Koch

WWF has launched a 12-day survey of Brazil's Juruena River focusing on migratory fish species and how communities near the river use its resources. The Juruena River flows through Juruena National Park, feeds the magnificent Salto Augusto falls, and is part of the wider Amazon basin.

The study will target a fish species known locally as "matrinxã" (Brycon amazonicus). Ayslaner Gallo, one of the project's coordinators, says the bigger specimens of fish will be tagged so they can be tracked by remote monitoring systems.

"With the tracking information in hand, we can come back to the region and find out what happened to these animals, see where they are and how they have developed, and identify other aspects of their behaviour," Gallo says.

To better understand the pressures on the river as well as the services it provides, the research team will interview community members in Aldeia do Pontal, Barra de São Manoel and Colares, and isolated families living along the banks of the Juruena and Teles Pires rivers.

Fishermen will be asked about which fish species they catch most, how often they fish, and how many fishermen are active in the area. The data will be tabulated to obtain a profile of all fishing activities in the vicinity.

"This initial study is designed to build our knowledge of migratory dynamics, and the social and economic aspects of the communities in regard to available resources," says Claudio Maretti, leader of WWF's Living Amazon Initiative.

Amazon survey investigates fish and communities in region targeted for hydropower development
Oncas rapids, Juruena National Park - part of the Southern Amazon (mega) conservation corridor. Credit: Zig Koch

The Juruena River is situated in the larger Tapajos River basin. "The Brazilian government has identified the Tapajos River basin is the next frontier for hydroelectric projects in the Amazon. The construction of a hydroelectric dam completely alters the ecological, social and economic dynamics of a region. So it is of fundamental importance to get to know those aspects beforehand," says Maretti.

Explore further: Diabetes drug found in freshwater is a potential cause of intersex fish

Related Stories

Bangladesh's otter fishing tradition faces extinction

Mar 21, 2014

Swimming in circles alongside a fishing boat, the excited cries of two short-haired otters ring out across a river in southern Bangladesh that feeds into the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.

Recommended for you

Algae invade amphibian egg masses

Apr 24, 2015

The establishment of symbiotic systems requires one organism to live in or on a host. For some North American amphibians, these symbionts are algae and they associate with their aquatic egg masses. Researchers have begun ...

Biodiversity promotes multitasking in ecosystems

Apr 24, 2015

A new study of the complex interplay between organisms and their environment shows that biodiversity—the variety of organisms living on Earth—is even more important to the healthy functioning of ecosystems ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.