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Title: GIS-based models for the development of sustainable aquaculture of native fish species in central Mexico: a catchment level approach for the protection of biodiversity.
Author(s): Peredo-Alvarez, Victor M.
Supervisor(s): Ross, Lindsay G.
Telfer, Trevor C.
Keywords: GIS
Geographic Information Systems
Native Species
Sustainable Aquaculture
Ictalurus balsanus
Ictalurus dugesii
Atherinella balsana
Chirostoma estor
Chirostoma jordani
Chirostoma promelas
Exotic Species
Species Distribution
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2011
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Over the last 3 decades, freshwater aquaculture has become one of the most important food industries. However the constant introduction of a reduced number of very successful species for aquaculture has been identified as one of the main activities related to the alarming decline of fish biodiversity worldwide. This issue has raised awareness amongst the scientific community, governmental authorities and the general public towards freshwater fish biodiversity. This new awareness has promoted the development of “green” markets and environmentally friendly strategies, aiming for a reliable production of protein sources. The development of native species aquaculture has been presented as a strong alternative for sustainable aquaculture and the protection of biodiversity. However, it seems clear that unplanned native species aquaculture developments can be as detrimental on local biodiversity as the introduction of exotic fish, if not more dangerous. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages of native species aquaculture have to be clearly analysed before any aquaculture development. This study aimed to establish a philosophical background regarding the use of native fish species in aquaculture in contrast to the introduction of exotic species that may compete for a similar niche as food in local markets. The main ecological impacts that exotic fish species may have on natives, such as competition, predation, and hybridization were discussed. In addition, a well planned native species Aquaculture Strategy for the Protection of Biodiversity was produced, at catchment level, within a Geographic Information System (GIS). For the development of the native species aquaculture strategy in central Mexico, four species of Atherinids (Chirostoma estor, C. Jordani, C. promelas and Atherinella balsana) and two species of native Ictalurids (Ictalurus balsanus and Ictalurus dugesii) were included in this study. These six species are relatively new to aquaculture and they were selected on the basis of their importance in local fisheries and markets in their native basins of the Lerma-Santiago and Balsas rivers. Both of these basins are of great importance in central Mexico, not only because of their biodiversity but also because of their high human population densities and socio-economic status. The use of Geographic Information Systems was a fundamental factor in the development of the native species aquaculture strategy at catchment level, consisting of site suitability models (SSM) for each species in their corresponding native catchments. Overall, SSM identified 13,916 km2 and 11,178 km2 highly suitable for aquaculture of the studied Atherinids and Ictalurids respectively, based on Water, Soil and Terrain, Infrastructure and Risk sub-models. A set of predictive species distribution models (PSDM), which related ecological characteristics for each studied species with relevant environmental and topographic parameters into a GIS, were also produced. Such models were developed for the establishment of potential natural ranges of distribution for each species, as well as their potential to become exotic in new environments, as a potential for invasion model (PI). Based on a partial verification, both PSDM and PI models produced results that were satisfactorily consistent with the known distribution of each modelled species. The combination of SSM and PSDM produced an Aquaculture Strategy for the Protection of Biodiversity model (ASPB) which identified the most environmentally friendly suitable areas for aquaculture sites. In contrast, the combination of the SSM with PI models into an ASPB model identified the site suitability potential for non-native species that are genetically close to native ones, in an attempt to reduce the known impacts that exotic species have on local biodiversity. In this way the ASPB model identified 7,651 km2 suitable for aquaculture of I. balsanus in its native Balsas basin and 15,633 km¬2 suitable for aquaculture of the non-native I. dugesii. ASPB models were produced for all the studied species. The final results were used to produce a set of guidelines for the development of sustainable aquaculture of native species at catchment level that cover genetic and ecological implications, as well as a well planned decision making tool produced in a GIS.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences

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