Evaluation of fish passage through the Igarapé Dam fish ladder (rio Paraopeba, Brazil), using marking and recapture
fish passage, fish ladder, Brazil, marking, recapture, thermal, power plant, upstream
Journal or Book Title
Rio Paraopeba, a tributary of rio São Francisco, has a six-meter high dam, built in 1978 to divert water to the Igarapé Thermal Power Plant. In 1994, a fish ladder was built at this dam. The results of a marking and recapture program carried out along rio Paraopeba between 1997 and 2001 are described, using information from fish community studies conducted at ten sampling stations between 1994 and 1997. These investigations showed the presence of at least 91 species in the river. During four rainy seasons between 1997 and 2000, fish were caught downstream of the dam, marked with external plastic tags, and immediately released at the same site. The objective was to evaluate fish passage through the ladder, based on recapture information from artisanal and sport fishermen. A total of 3,642 specimens were marked, adding up to a biomass of approximately 1.33 tons. Twenty-six species were used, representing 28.5% of the total recorded richness (91 species). Maximum recorded tag retention time was 10 months. Total recapture rate was 4.37% in four years, reaching 5.75% in the last period (2000-2001). Of all recaptured specimens, 14.0% were caught upstream of the dam, evidencing passage through the ladder. The specimens recaptured upstream of the dam belonged to three species: piau-verdadeiro (Leporinus obtusidens), mandi-amarelo (Pimelodus maculatus) and curimatá-pioa (Prochilodus costatus). These species showed linear home ranges of 15.4, 81.5 and 232.0 km, respectively. Most recaptures occurred immediately downstream of the dam, one of the most intensely fished stretches of rio Paraopeba.