June 10, 2009
Perfect Storm Looms for Brazil’s Diversity of Fishes
Brazil Proposes to Approve the Planting of Invasive Fish Species
Biologists fear a new wave of invasive fish species will be headed for Brazilian waters if legislation in that country’s Congress is passed.
According to a new paper warning of the potential for an environmental disaster, the new law would allow and encourage “the rearing of non-native fish in aquaculture cages in any hydroelectric reservoir of the country. This initiative may “naturalise by decree” some of the worst invasive species in the world (e.g., carp and tilapia) as a means of developing inland aquaculture and economy.” The proposed move has biologists and ecologists in a state of alarm, even as other Brazilian laws and policies are allowing extensive deforestation and the damming of rivers to create hydroelectric power facilities, notably the huge Belo Monte Project in the Rio Xingu watershed.
Entitled A serious new threat to Brazilian freshwater ecosystems: the naturalisation of non- native fish by decree, the paper is authored by a team of Brazilian scientists including Fernando Mayer Pelicice, Jean Ricardo Simões Vitule, Dilermando Pereira Lima Junior, Mário Luis Orsi, and Angelo Antonio Agostinho.
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