A SUMMARY OF SCIENTIFIC RESULTS OF PROJECT PIABA
(Data presented is copyrighted)
ęThe Fishery, Diversity, and Conservation of Ornamental Fishes in the Rio Negro Basin, Brazil Diversity, fishery and conservation of ornamental fishes of the Rio Negro basin, Brazil - A review of Project Piaba (1989-99).
Ning Labbish Chao, Universidade do Amazonas & Bio-Amazonia Conservation International. Caixa Postal 2310,69.061, Manaus, AM Brazil. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal of Project Piaba (1989-1999) is to investigate the diversity of fishes in the middle Rio Negro basin, providing a scientific basis for an ornamental fishery at commercially and ecologically sustainable levels.
The project has focused on the diversity and ecology of fishes, and on the socio-economic implications of the fishery, generating information for resource management, biological conservation, and business opportunities for the ornamental fish industry.
Major findings are: (1) The Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi ) is the indicator species for the ornamental fishery, and changes in its numbers can significantly alter the socio-economic situation of riverine communities in the region; (2) Species richness of the floodplain fishes is much greater than previously recorded (more than 400 species have been identified for the middle Rio Negro Basin), and the importance of the river channel as a barrier and refuge for floodplain fishes is evident; (3) Climatic events such as El Ni˝o can significantly alter fish diversity and affect the ornamental fishery of the floodplain (low water during the Pleistocene glacial period might be an important mechanism of speciation in the Neotropics); (4) Problems of fish health and live fish transport have been identified, but the issues cannot be solved by technology alone; (5) Training local people and involving the ornamental fish industry, hobbyists, and regulatory agencies in the conservation of ornamental fishes has proceeded rapidly.
The limitations of Project Piaba are lack of stability in human and financial resources. Therefore, an integrated assessment of the ecological and socio-economic systems of the fishery is still lacking. The next phase of Project Piaba (2000-2004) takes a holistic approach with the intention of generating and integrating scientific data on aquatic biodiversity and other resources, and setting practical strategies for a sustainable ornamental fishery. User groups of the ornamental fish industry (aquarium suppliers, hobbyists, and public aquariums) should take more responsibility in aquatic conservation.
The goals are to promote a more economically viable fishery for the riverine communities, at commercially and ecologically sustainable levels, and to help reduce environmentally destructive land use and rural-to-urban migration. Research Objectives: (1) Investigate the spatial and temporal variation of aquatic habitats and its influence on distribution of fish and turtles, and life history of exploited species; (2) Identify and conserve the source which sustains the food chain of fishes and turtles; (3) Identify and preserve the integrity of the ecosystem that generate and maintain the genetic and phenotypic diversity of aquatic fauna; (4) Investigate and improve the technology used in exploration of live aquatic resources; (5) Investigate the socio-economic and cultural factors involved in the extraction and commercialization of natural resources. (6) Survey the feasibility, logistics and the political/business environments of establishing a locally controlled fishery and trade processes.
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