Dams: A Ubiquitous Landscape Feature Affecting Fisheries

Dams: A Ubiquitous Landscape Feature Affecting Fisheries

Daniel B. Hayes

Dams have a profound influence on the structure and function of rivers worldwide, and greatly alter the productivity of inland fisheries. Changes in the biological status of freshwater fisheries driven by dams vary, sometimes increasing total production, but often leading to reduced production. A complexity introduced is that the location of production can be shifted relative to pre-dam conditions, leading to conflicts among stakeholders. The telegraphing of effects of dams both upstream and downstream has important implications for policies and governance initiatives related to dams, as does the multitude of human economic and social considerations that dams touch. Regulating the construction of new dams, operation of existing dams, and decommissioning of defunct dams will require a variety of strategies in order for sustainable fisheries to be achieved.

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