Non-native fish in aquaculture and sport fishing in Brazil: Economic benefits versus risks to fish diversity in the upper River Paraná Basin

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Authors: Britton, J.R. and Orsi, M.L.

Journal: Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

Volume: 22

Issue: 3

Pages: 555-565

ISSN: 0960-3166

DOI: 10.1007/s11160-012-9254-x

Brazil has a highly diverse freshwater fish fauna and their freshwaters provide valuable provisioning ecosystem services in aquaculture and sport angling, especially in the developed regions in the south. Non-native fish now comprise a substantial proportion of the total aquaculture production and value, contributing at least $US 250 million in 2008 (63% of the total value of freshwater fish aquaculture) according to the Fish and Agriculture Organisation. Much of this aquaculture activity is centred in Central and Southern Brazil, such as impounded sections of the upper River Paraná. The non-native fishes used tend to feed at relatively low trophic levels, with the most prominently species being Cyprinus carpio and Oreochromis niloticus. Ecological risk assessment suggests these species are potentially highly invasive and deleterious to the native fish diversity of invaded water bodies. Fishes introduced for the creation of sport fisheries tend feed higher trophic levels through piscivory, such as the peacock basses (Cichla species) from Amazonia. Their introductions have generally resulted in establishment and invasion, which tends to be followed by significant and rapid declines in native fish diversity as a consequence of increased predation pressure. Thus, whilst non-native fish in the upper Paraná River support provisioning ecosystem services of substantial economic value, the principal species used represent high risks to fish diversity and conservation. It is recommended local management should concentrate on reducing these risks through use of more appropriate species in these ecosystem services, with these decisions derived using risk assessment and precautionary principles. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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