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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 10:89-98 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00253

Small dams for aquaculture negatively impact fish diversity in Amazonian streams

Raniere Garcez Costa Sousa1,*, Marcos de Almeida Mereles1, Flávia Kelly Siqueira-Souza2, Lawrence Edward Hurd3, Carlos Edwar de Carvalho Freitas2

1Fisheries Science Department, Rondônia Federal University, Presidente Médici, CEP 76916-000, Rondônia, Brazil
2Fisheries Science Department, Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, CEP 69077-000, Amazonas, Brazil
3Department of Biology. Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Much has been written about the negative impacts of large hydroelectric dams on fish species diversity in the Amazon River Basin; however, less is known about the impacts of small dams in streams that are created for fish aquaculture. Our study of fish assemblages upstream and downstream of fish farm dams in Rondônia State, Brazil, revealed that the dams act as physical barriers to fish movement and that upstream assemblages showed lower measures of diversity and abundance compared to downstream. The greatest impact was the obstruction of upstream movement of a number of fish groups, coupled with isolation and disappearance of relatively rare fish species living upstream. The fish species most affected were from frugivore, herbivore and detritivore trophic levels that are associated with migration and the forming of schools (potamodromous species), although the impact was also evident in piscivorous fish commonly found in lentic habitats. Although stream dams may cause small negative effects relative to huge hydroelectric barriers, the cumulative impact of hundreds of fish farms in stream channels could be considerable. Amelioration of the damage caused by fish farm impoundments will require (1) design of effective fish passage systems around dams to reduce impact on fish diversity and (2) prohibition of the complete stream blocking to build these fish farms, which will require derivative channels to their water supply.


KEY WORDS: Fish assemblages · Dams · Stream basin · Tributaries


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Cite this article as: Sousa RGC, Mereles MA, Siqueira-Souza FK, Hurd LE, de Carvalho Freitas CE (2018) Small dams for aquaculture negatively impact fish diversity in Amazonian streams. Aquacult Environ Interact 10:89-98. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00253

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