Brazilian Action Plans for freshwater fishes

Brazilian Action Plans for freshwater fishes

Carla Polaz

National Center Research for Conservation of Freshwater Fishes, ICMBio - Instituto Chico Mendes (Chico Mendes Institute)

Since its foundation in 2007, the Chico Mendes Institute (ICMBio) has been responsible for the National Action Plans in Brazil. Its main mission is conserving Brazilian biodiversity, especially inside Protected Areas. Action Plans are public policies identifing and guiding priority actions to combat threats that endanger populations of species or environments (e.g. natural caves).

The ICMBio Instruction Act n. 25/2012 is based on strategic planning and provides a simple, but robust method, that can be applied in all taxonomic or geographical levels. These levels may include a single species, or groups of species and subspecies, and can be set at global, regional or national levels.

The steps of an Action Plan, include analysing the information for the identification of direct threats and actors and defining objectives, goals and strategic actions to promote a change in the risk of species extinction through participatory planning workshops. Following this, ICMBio approves the publication of an executive summary and the Action Plan's book and continues to oversee the implementation of recommended actions. In each completed year after the first workshop, a new monitoring meeting takes place to establish the status of actions: concluded (blue signal); on progress in time (green signal); ongoing with problems (yellow signal) or delayed (red signal). An advisory specialist group systematically follows the implementation of actions until the end of the Action Plan five years later. To warrant that the Action Plan will have greater implementation success, the process includes multilateral participation, aiming to establish a pact involving various segments of government, non-governmental organizations, conservation experts, representatives of local communities, the private sector and other key stakeholders.

Chico Mendes Institute currently controls 44 Action Plans for fauna species with the support of the Project PROBIO II/MMA, four of them designed for freshwater fishes:

Action Plan for the threatened species of the Paraíba do Sul watershed, that comprises ten fishes, one turtle, three crustaceans and three molluscks (all from freshwater habitats).

Action Plan for the threatened species of the Mogi, Pardo, Grande and Sapucai-Mirim watersheds (Upper Paraná basin), that comprises fourteen endangered fishes.

Action Plan for the threatened species of Rivulidae family, that comprises more than 50 annual fishes.

Action Plan for the threatened species of the São Francisco watershed, that comprises five fishes and four molluscs in the Brazilian Savanah (Cerrado) (under construction).

For more details of all Chico Mendes Institute Action Plans, please, visit the website:


Salminus brasiliensis (also known as "dourado" in Brazil) is an alien species in the Paraiba do Sul River basin and a huge threat to native fishes. Photo: Leonardo Milano.

Original publication in: SAVING FRESHWATER FISHES AND HABITATS. Newsletter of the IUCN SSC/WI Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, Issue 4 • March 2014, p. 15