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Sustainability of Harvested Pacú (Colossoma macropomum) Populations in the Northeastern Bolivian Amazon

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The pacú (Colossoma macropomum) is an important commercial and subsistence fish resource in Amazonia. Pacú depend on the unique hydrology of the Amazon Basin, in particular the occurrence of annual floods, and require a healthy and intact flooded forest ( várzea) for food resources during the wet season. From March to December of 1999, 128 pacú were collected and aged ( by means of otoliths) from subsistence harvests in the town of Bella Vista, located at the juncture of the San Martín and Blanco rivers in northeastern Bolivia. The age structure of the harvested population implied a healthy and lightly exploited stock and suggested that sustainable harvest is occurring. Population parameters at our site were similar to the neighboring, lightly exploited Mamoré River system but differed slightly from heavily exploited stocks in Brazil. Pacú harvested near Bella Vista are of special concern because of poaching and the increasing regional demand for fish, and because the várzea habitat on which the pacú depends is currently threatened by cattle production, development activities, and land-tenure conflicts. As development increases throughout Amazonia, careful management of pacú fisheries and the flooded forest on which they depend will be of critical importance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Georgia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Daniel B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602–2152, U.S.A.

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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