Enhancing fisheries productivity through improved management of reservoirs, dams and other water control structures

Dams and the reservoirs they create are increasingly ubiquitous in landscapes throughout the world. They have a major impact on fisheries, presenting both opportunities and constraints. This note, written for both water sector and fisheries sector practitioners, policy-makers and decision-makers, is intended to: i) increase awareness of the importance of inland fisheries; ii) highlight the impacts of dams and other water control structures on fisheries; and iii) outline approaches for increasing fisheries yields and benefits, both within reservoirs and downstream in rivers and irrigated areas. The focus of the note is on how reservoirs and associated water management structures, can be managed or modified to provide a wider range of benefits. In this context, we advocate a landscape approach with much more prominence given to fisheries since they represent a significant untapped potential for sustainably increasing landscape productivity. In future, much greater emphasis should be given to safeguarding and improving fisheries opportunities in the aquatic environments created and impacted by dams and other water control infrastructure.