Case Studies in Fisheries Conservation and Management: Applied Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Case 26: Exotic Species, Economic Development, and Native Fish Restoration: Are All Possible?

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874189.ch26

You have been hired as a consultant to advise local scientists and government agencies in Santa Catarina, Brazil on approaches to restore native fishes to previously polluted streams from which they had been eliminated. The government hopes to stimulate a sport fishing-based tourist industry in this economically depressed area. On your initial visit to the area you learn that rainbow trout from North America have already been stocked in many of the streams of interest. Can native fish populations be successfully restored where these trout presently exist? Would native fisheries be capable of supporting extensive sport fisheries? What course(s) of action will you recommend for the restoration program?

Brazil is a country of great ecological contrasts. The northern section straddles the equator and is one of the world’s hotspots for biodiversity. The more southern areas are sub-tropical and temperate in nature and bear resemblance to areas of North America. The median latitude of the state of Santa Catarina is around 27° S (the mirror image of Florida in the United States), however the altitude makes the climate more similar to the Appalachian areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The freshwater fish fauna in Brazil is dominated by many species of the family Characidae, a large and diversified fauna. Familiar characins include the carnivorous Amazon piranhas and the vegetarian pacus, but hundreds of other species of all morphological and ecological descriptions populate the family as well. Other taxa represented in Brazil include the catfish families Heptapteridae and Pimelodidae.