Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 49(4): 329-339, doi: 10.3750/AIEP/02558
Hydroacoustic evaluation of the spatial and temporal distribution of fish in the upstream proximity of a dam in a Neotropical reservoir
expand article infoF.M. Andrade, I.G. Prado, R.C. Loures, L.P. Zambaldi, P.S. Pompeu
Open Access
Background. Construction of dams alters the physical, chemical, and ecological characteristics of the aquatic environment and modifies fish behaviour and the community composition. Few studies have shown the diel and seasonal fish distribution in tropical reservoirs, mainly in the proximity of the dam, where the risk of injury and death of fishes, which try to migrate downstream, is high. Thus, the data obtained in these regions can encourage actions that may attenuate the impacts on ichthyofauna. Hydroacoustic sampling is an effective tool to study fish behaviour and their spatial distribution in water bodies. In this context, the aim of this study was to evaluate the spatial and seasonal distribution of fish in the reservoir of Três Marias (Minas Gerais, Brazil), immediately upstream of the dam, using hydroacoustic and gillnet sampling. Materials and methods. Hydroacoustics and gillnet sampling were carried out both during the day and at night, and during the rainy and dry seasons. For the acquisition of hydroacoustic data, we employed an echosounder (BioSonics DT-X Digital Scientific) with a split-beam digital transducer. For the biological data, gillnets of different mesh sizes were set. Results. Hydroacoustic data showed significant differences in fish depth between day and night surveys, with fish remaining in deeper water during the day, a phenomenon known as Diel Vertical Migration. Furthermore, hydroacoustic data showed that smaller fish (estimated by “target strength”) concentrate at smaller depths. There was no significant difference in the size of fish between seasons. Limnological and operation variables were not related to the fish  abundance. Distribution maps showed that during the day fishes were distributed in areas more distant from the dam, while at night they were closer to the dam. Gillnets sampled 127 individuals of 22 species and 57.5% of the collected specimens were migratory species. Conclusion. These results can contribute to the understanding of fish behaviour in reservoirs, as well as provide an empirical basis for the development of novel fish management measures for Neotropical dams.
dam, echo sounding, migratory fish, reservoir ecology, São Francisco River