A Key Milestone for the Conservation of Amazon Migratory Fish: Dorado and Piramutaba Included in CMS Appendix II

A Key Milestone for the Conservation of Amazon Migratory Fish: Dorado and Piramutaba Included in CMS Appendix II
February 27, 2024 Gabriela Merizalderubio
The dorado and piramutaba catfish become part of Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species. Image credit: WCS

The dorado and piramutaba catfish become part of Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species. Image credit: WCS

Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Feb. 17, 2024 — At the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Brazil’s proposal to include the dorado (Brachyplatystoma rouseauxii) and the piramutaba (Brachyplatystoma vaillantii) in the CMS Appendix II was approved.

This decision marks a crucial moment for the conservation of these two migratory catfish species in the Amazon. As Susan Lieberman, Vice President of International Policy with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said: “The inclusion of the dorado and piramutaba in the CMS Appendix II is a significant step toward protecting these emblematic species and their critical habitats in the Amazon Basin.”

The Amazon is home to over 47 million people, including approximately 1.5 million Indigenous individuals, whose lives, cultures, and livelihoods are intimately intertwined with its rivers, lakes, flooded forests, fish, and wildlife. The longest freshwater fish migrations in the world occur in the Amazon Basin and migratory fish species represent more than 80% of the commercial capture.

The dorado (Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii) and the piramutaba (Brachyplatystoma vaillantii), two migratory giants, play a fundamental role in the ecological balance and integrity of this vast and complex aquatic network.

The dorado undertakes an extraordinary migration, covering over 11,000 km round-trip from the Andes to the Atlantic and back. This journey represents the longest continental water migration globally, traversing territories of several Amazonian countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Similarly, the piramutaba embarks on extensive migrations, traveling approximately 6,300 km round trip.

Said Ellee Bosman, Acting Mission Director, USAID Peru: “This decision taken at CMS, to protect two iconic migratory species, aligns with our vision of a healthy Amazon basin. Through Together for Conservation, and other initiatives, we will continue to support the region’s efforts to enhance environmental governance, protect key landscapes and species, while also securing the rights and resources necessary for sustainable development.”

The Amazon Waters Alliance, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recognize the importance of this decision for the sustainable management of these species and thereby maintaining biodiversity and the well-being of human populations, and appreciate the consensus adoption of the proposal at CMS CoP14.  They will continue collaborating with governments and local communities to promote policies fostering the sustainable management of dorado and piramutaba and their habitats. Together, they will continue to work tirelessly to safeguard the future of these important species and the critical ecosystems they inhabit, upon which the livelihoods of Amazon Peoples depend.

Said Carolina Doria from Universidad Federal de Rondonia, Brazil, board member of the Amazon Waters Alliance, which comprises 26 partners from seven Amazon countries: “Dorado and piramutaba are species that act as indicators of the health and connectivity of Amazonian aquatic ecosystems. However, these two large catfish are at risk due to hydroelectric dams, overfishing, alluvial mining, and deforestation, thus threatening the connectivity of the entire Amazon. That’s why the inclusion of the dorado and piramutaba in Appendix II of CMS is key to catalyze collaborative actions for the sustainable management of migratory fish species and the conservation of their home ranges of this fishery resource.”

Collaboration among governments, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and the private sector, along with the implementation of coordinated conservation measures, is crucial to ensure a sustainable future for both biodiversity and the people reliant on the integrity of Amazonian aquatic ecosystems.

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