Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 13, pp 3545–3558 | Cite as

The same old mistakes in aquaculture: the newly-available striped catfish Pangasianodon hypophthalmus is on its way to putting Brazilian freshwater ecosystems at risk

  • Diego A. Z. GarciaEmail author
  • André L. B. Magalhães
  • Jean R. S. Vitule
  • Armando C. R. Casimiro
  • Dilermando P. Lima-Junior
  • Almir M. Cunico
  • Marcelo F. G. Brito
  • Miguel Petrere-Junior
  • Ângelo A. Agostinho
  • Mário L. Orsi
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Invasive species


In the state of São Paulo in southeastern Brazil, a dangerous decree allows the culture of hybrids and non-native extralimital fish species in the Paraná and East Atlantic River basins. We recorded the illegal importation and sale of the non-native striped catfish Pangasianodon hypophthalmus in northeastern, central-western, southeastern, and southern areas of the country. This species is already consumed across Brazil and is cultivated for ornamental purposes. Besides escapes from fish farms and ‘fish and pays’, P. hypophthalmus can reach natural environments through aquarium dumping and ornamental ponds, motivated by its large size that reach after being sold at small size. The species has been introduced in many countries, and if established in Brazil, could put native Brazilian biodiversity and ecosystems at risk. Although importing specimens of P. hypophthalmus is prohibited by law, Decree 62.243/2016 in the state of São Paulo creates a new opportunity for invasion. In fact, once a novel fish species is moved to a new continent, it is irrational to supposed that it will stay static just in the area for which it was intended. In general, the fish disperse in the novel area on their own, by escapes from captivity or deliberate and illicit releases by persons or associations. The unwise attitude of Brazilian decision-makers and lay people in their attempt to develop aquaculture with non-native species goes against the objectives of responsible aquaculture based in native species.


Alien dispersion Aquaculture Aquarium dumping Biological invasions Legislation Propagule pressure 



We are thankful to Valter M. Azevedo-Santos and anonymous reviewers for suggesting manuscript improvements and to Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for scholarship and financial support.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego A. Z. Garcia
    • 1
    Email author
  • André L. B. Magalhães
    • 2
  • Jean R. S. Vitule
    • 3
  • Armando C. R. Casimiro
    • 1
  • Dilermando P. Lima-Junior
    • 4
  • Almir M. Cunico
    • 5
  • Marcelo F. G. Brito
    • 6
  • Miguel Petrere-Junior
    • 7
  • Ângelo A. Agostinho
    • 8
  • Mário L. Orsi
    • 1
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Ecologia de Peixes e Invasões Biológicas, Departamento de Biologia Animal e VegetalUniversidade Estadual de LondrinaLondrinaBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Tecnologias para o Desenvolvimento SustentávelUniversidade Federal de São João Del ReiOuro BrancoBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação, Departamento de Engenharia Ambiental, Setor de TecnologiaUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  4. 4.Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação de Ecossistemas AquáticosUniversidade Federal de Mato GrossoPontal do AraguaiaBrazil
  5. 5.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Aquicultura e Desenvolvimento Sustentável, Laboratório de Ecologia, Pesca e Ictiologia, Departamento de BiodiversidadeUniversidade Federal do ParanáPalotinaBrazil
  6. 6.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal de SergipeSergipeBrazil
  7. 7.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Sustentabilidade de Ecossistemas Costeiros e MarinhosUniversidade Santa CecíliaSantosBrazil
  8. 8.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia de Ambientes Aquáticos Continentais, Núcleo de Pesquisa em Limnologia, Ictiologia e Aquicultura (NUPELIA)Universidade Estadual de MaringáMaringáBrazil

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