Creating wetlands to improve reservoir fisheries
Water reservoirs are never impounded for fisheries per se but increased fish production is often promoted as an important secondary benefit ? a provisioning service - of reservoirs created for hydropower, irrigation or water supply. Often this increased fishery is presented by dam proponents as a benefit for local people that will, at least in-part, compensate them for the disruption to their livelihoods caused by the dam construction. However, reservoir fisheries often fail to live up to expectations. The principal objective of this project is to improve local livelihoods by enhancing fisheries through the construction of small wetlands within the drawdown zone (i.e. below the full supply level (FSL)) of a reservoir. The premise is that these wetlands will create more diverse habitat and provide refuges and breeding areas for fish when the reservoir is drawdown. This in turn will lead to greater fish production within the reservoir, reduced fishing effort, increased catches, improved returns and greater livelihood benefits. By creating new environments it is anticipated the wetlands will enhance other ecosystem services, improving the livelihoods and increasing the resilience of local communities.