Neotropical freshwater fishes are the most diverse on the planet (>5,500 species), although nations in Latin America have been negligent regarding their conservation. National policies have historically encouraged unsustainable practices, and recent decades have witnessed a sharp increase in harmful activities. Our aim with this review was to expose this situation and illustrate how national policies constitute the main threat to freshwater fish biodiversity. We explain that the most devastating, pervasive and systemic threats are rooted in official policies, particularly unsustainable activities (e.g. hydropower, water diversion, mining, aquaculture, agriculture and fishing), poor management/conservation (e.g. fish stocking and passages) and harmful legislation (e.g. poor licensing, non‐native species). We provide a broad portrait of the Neotropical scenario, where unsustainable policies have caused considerable damage to freshwater ecosystems, and focus on major examples from Brazil, where development projects have caused large‐scale losses to fish biodiversity. Such modus operandi of human development is incompatible with the persistence of biodiversity, and no simple solution is available to correct or minimize its effects. The current situation demands a profound behavioural shift towards better practices and policies, or these multiple high‐impact activities will continue eroding freshwater fish biodiversity and impairing essential ecosystem services.
Brazil has a variety of aquatic ecosystems and rich freshwater biodiversity, but these components have been constantly damaged by the expansion of unsustainable activities. An array of different conservation strategies is needed, especially the creation of protected areas (PAs, hereafter). However, Brazil's PAs are biased towards terrestrial ecosystems and we argue that current PAs have limited efficacy in the protection of freshwater biodiversity. New PAs should better consider aquatic environments, covering entire basins, rivers and other freshwater habitats. We recommend ways to implement these PAs and provide guidance to avoid social impacts. Freshwater systems in Brazil provide essential goods and services but these ecosystems are being rapidly degraded and will be lost if not adequately protected.
Businesses in the pet trade collect and transport many aquatic species around the globe, and some of these individuals are released into new habitats. Some jurisdictions have introduced laws intended to regulate this trade, but these regulations have rarely had the desired effects. Laws regarding pets and the pet trade are often poorly communicated, poorly enforced, and not aligned with hobbyists' beliefs. Consequently, some laws may increase the number of unwanted introductions instead of decreasing them. A significant change in approach is needed, involving far greater communication with scientists, administrations, politicians, the pet industry, and pet owners, promoting euthanasia of unwanted pets rather than release, and the creation and promotion "white lists" of low risk species that can be sold in the pet trade.
For some time, the rate of non-native fish introductions has been increasing in South America. There are many reasons for introductions: reservoir stocking programs, aquaculture, sport fishing, control of disease vectors, and the pet trade. Accidental escapes also contribute significantly. In Brazil, despite federal and state regulations, there are misunderstandings about such concepts as native, exotic, allochthonous, or autochthonous fishes and introductions, translocations, reintroductions, and transfers of fishes. Known impacts of exotic fishes include native species extinction, changes in competition and predation rates, limnological perturbations, introduction of diseases and parasites, hybridization with native species, and changes in fisheries composition. The few recorded benefits of non-native species introductions are restricted to the improvement of fish production and sport fisheries. In Minas Gerais, Brazil, records of exotic species have increased over the past seven years. In some of the most important river basins of that state, alien fish species might represent up to 40% of the fish fauna. Congeneric species, such as Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus and the exotic H. eques, can be captured from the same water body and the non-native species can be much more abundant than the native species. The recent introduction of Leporinus macrocephalus from the Pantanal may cause the same impact to the native L. copelandii. The widespread introduction of the peacock bass and other piscivorous species is the cause of local extinctions in the central lake of Lagoa Santa and in the Theresa M. Bert (ed.), Ecological and Genetic Implications of Aquaculture Activities, 291-314. ß 2007 Springer.Rio Doce valley lakes. Genetic problems can also be foreseen with the release of hybrids of Pseudoplatystoma corruscans and P. fasciatum in areas where only the first species naturally occurs. Tilapine species, the most widely distributed exotics within the state, have had negative impacts on fisheries and on fish species compositions in reservoirs. Solution to these problems must involve the following: (1) better enforcement of legislation governing the sale and transport of live organisms, (2) development of native-species aquaculture, and (3) public awareness programs on the adverse impacts of exotic species to the native fish fauna.
A model was developed to assess the risk of invasion of ornamental non-native fishes to six rivers in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, with focus on species popularity. Thirty-nine aquarium shops, in six cities, were visited monthly from January to December 2007. In each city, fish species were identified, and their biology and invasion history information was obtained from the literature. We calculated the annual frequency of occurrence and average number of specimens monthly available in stores. Quarterly water temperature and dissolved oxygen data from 1997 to 2007 were obtained for the Velhas, Muriaé, Uberabinha, Sapucaí-Mirim, Doce and Todos os Santos Rivers from public databases. The invasion risk of each species was assessed through a model comprising nine parameters grouped in four variables: (i) Invasiveness (thermal and dissolved oxygen ranges, diet, parental care or fecundity), (ii) History of invasions (establishment), (iii) Propagule pressure (commercial success, comprising annual frequency of occurrence and number of specimens available monthly at stores), and (iv) Invasibility (water temperature and dissolved oxygen in the target river compatible with the species ranges). Of the 345 ornamental fish species for sale, 332 are non-native to either Minas Gerais (n = 151) or Brazil (n = 194). Based on the proposed cutting values, in particular the compatibility between species and recipient thermal ranges, five ornamental non-native species (Cyprinus rubrofuscus, Carassius auratus, Xiphophorus hellerii, Poecilia reticulata, and P. latipinna) can potentially invade the Velhas and Muriaé Rivers, four species (Cyprinus rubrofuscus, Carassius auratus, X. helleri, and P. reticulata) the Uberabinha River, four species (Cyprinus rubrofuscus, Carassius auratus, X. maculatus, and P. reticulata) the Sapucaí-Mirim River, three species (Carassius auratus, X. hellerii, and P. reticulata) the Doce River, and three species (Cyprinus rubrofuscus, P. reticulata, and Amatitlania nigrofasciata) can potentially invade the Todos os Santos River. Six recommendations are suggested to reduce the invasion risk of non-native fish on the rivers surveyed posed by aquarium trade.Um modelo foi desenvolvido para avaliar o risco de invasão de peixes ornamentais não-nativos em seis rios do estado de Minas Gerais, sudeste do Brasil, com foco na popularidade das espécies. Trinta e nove lojas de aquário em seis cidades foram visitadas mensalmente de janeiro a dezembro de 2007. Em cada cidade, as espécies foram identificadas e suas biologias e histórias de invasão foram obtidas da literatura. Calculou-se a frequência de ocorrência anual e quantidade média mensal de exemplares disponíveis nas lojas. Foram obtidas temperaturas trimestrais da água e dados de oxigênio dissolvido de 1997 a 2007 dos rios Velhas, Muriaé, Uberabinha, Sapucaí-Mirim, Doce e Todos os Santos a partir de bases de dados públicas. O risco de invasão de cada espécie foi avaliado através de um modelo composto por nove parâmetros agrupados em quatro variávei...
The executive and legislative branches of Brazilian government have either proposed or taken a variety of initiatives that threaten biodiversity and ecosystems. Opposition by the scientific community has largely been ignored by decision-makers. In this short essay, we present recent examples of harmful policies that have great potential to erode biodiversity, and we suggest ways to communicate scientific knowledge to decision-Communicated by David Hawksworth.
Informal sales of large-bodied non-native aquarium fishes (known as "tankbusters") is increasing among Brazilian hobbyists. In this study, we surveyed this non-regulated trade on Facebook ® from May 2012 to September 2016, systematically collecting information about the fishes available for trading: species, family, common/scientific names, native range, juvenile length, behavior, number of specimens available in five geographical regions from Brazil. We also assessed the invasion risk of the most frequently sold species using the Fish Invasiveness Screening Test (FIST). We found 93 taxa belonging to 35 families. Cichlidae was the dominant family, and most species were native to South America. All species are sold at very small sizes (< 10.0 cm), and most display aggressive behavior. The hybrid Amphilophus trimaculatus × Amphilophus citrinellus, Astronotus ocellatus, Uaru amphiacanthoides, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, Cichla piquiti, Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, Datnioides microlepis and Cichla kelberi were the main species available. The southeast region showed the greatest trading activity. Based on biological traits, the FIST indicated that Arapaima gigas, C. kelberi and C. temensis are high-risk species in terms of biological invasions via aquarium dumping. We suggest management strategies such as trade regulations, monitoring, euthanasia and educational programs to prevent further introductions via aquarium dumping.Keywords: Aquarium releases, Aquarium trade, Biological invasions, Invasiveness, Propagule pressure.A venda de juvenis de peixes não-nativos de grandes dimensões, chamados de "peixes jumbo", está aumentando entre aquaristas no Brasil. Neste trabalho, pesquisou-se este comércio informal pelo Facebook ® de maio/2012 a setembro/2016, coletando-se informações sobre espécies, família, nomes vulgares/científicos, origem, tamanho juvenil, comportamento e número/frequência de exemplares disponíveis nas cinco regiões geográficas do Brasil. Também avaliou-se o risco de invasão das espécies mais vendidas usando o protocolo Fish Invasiveness Screening Test (FIST). Foram encontradas 93 espécies pertencentes a 35 famílias. Cichlidae foi a família dominante, e a maioria das espécies é nativa da América do Sul. Todas as espécies foram vendidas como juvenis (< 10.0 cm), e a maioria exibe comportamento agressivo. O híbrido Amphilophus trimaculatus × Amphilophus citrinellus, Astronotus ocellatus, Uaru amphiacanthoides, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, Cichla piquiti, Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, Datnioides microlepis e Cichla kelberi foram as espécies mais comercializadas. A região sudeste apresentou a maior porcentagem de vendas, e o FIST mostrou que Arapaima gigas, C. kelberi e C. temensis foram consideradas de alto risco para desencadear invasões biológicas mediadas por descarte de aquários. Recomendações como a regulação do comércio, monitoramento, sacrifício das espécies e campanhas educacionais para os aquaristas são sugeridas para evitar futuras introduções de peixes via descarte de aquários. Palavras-chave:Comércio o...
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