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Conservation of an endangered tropical fish specie in the Iguaçu River

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  • Project initiators: Western Paraná State University (UNIOESTE, Campus Toledo-PR, Brazil); Group of Research in Technology in Ecohydraulics and Conservation of Fisheries and Water Resources – GETECH; Ecohydraulics and Hydrobiology Laboratory – LATECH
  • Partners: State University of Santa Catarina – UDESC; State University of Mato Grosso do Sul – UEMS; Fundação Araucária – FA; Fundação Boticário; Iguaçu National Park – PNI; Coordination of Improvement of Higher Level Personnel – CAPES; National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq.
  • Duration of the project : 2018-2020
  • Cost of the project : U$ 40,000

Context of how the project emerged:

The Iguaçu river, between Argentina and Brazil, has a high degree of endemism of its ichthyofauna with the occurrence of endangered species, among them the surubim do Iguaçu, Steindachneridion melanodermatum. This catfish is restricted to the Lower Iguaçu River and has been recorded in a stretch of only 180km (from the Salto Caxias Dam to the Iguaçu Falls – Iguaçu National Park). Knowledge of this species is very limited and strategies for its protection and conservation are urgent.


Strategy and objectives

This project aims to characterize the habitat of Steindachneridion melanodermatum, an endemic and endangered species of the Iguaçu River basin. Specifically, it will:

  1. Identify, map and characterize the habitat of the species – the deep pools;
  2. Evaluate the daily behavior;
  3. Establish strategies for the creation of sanctuary areas of the species;
  4. Provide information to environmental agencies in order to subsidize the protection and conservation actions for this species.

Bathymetric model for the section of the Poço Preto / A large deep pool in the Iguaçu River, where previous samplings were carried out.

The project’s innovative characteristics


This project is innovative because the aim is to map the deep pools which are the habitat of a large catfish threatened, at a stretch understudied of the large tropical river, the Iguaçu River.

From a technical point of view, the use of GARMIN Chartplotter will provide bathymetric information, which will be part of the dataset. They will also provide valuable information about the relief below the surface of the water, making it possible to locate and quantify the deep pools.

The shoals of Steindachneridion melanodermatum will be evaluated using GARMIN Chartplotter equipment, and tracked by the Panoptix transducer, to understand its behavior.

Conservation zones or sanctuary areas will be established for conservation of this large threatened catfish.

Results and perspectives

This project will provide valuable information to management and conservation of this endangered tropical fish species.

How can this project be duplicated on other rivers?

This project could be employed in large rivers like Amazon, Congo and Mekong, which are also home to large catfish with similar behaviors.

#Iguacu #Catfish #Biodiversity #Conservation


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