Length Category: Medium (40-100 cm)
Trophic Level: Frugivore
Migratory Pattern: Medium Distance (100-1,000 km)
Spawning Period: Rising
Export Market: Regional (in Amazon)
Market Status: First class
The tambaqui potential yield was estimated to be 15,500 tons. The yield is concentrated in the Central Amazon with 91% of the total. The tambaqui has a moderate importance in the Peruvian Amazon (3%), Madeira (2%), Lower Amazon (2%), Brazilian-Colombian-Peruvian Border (1%) and Upper Madeira (1%) regions. Its potential yield is low in the Purus, Tocantins, and Estuary regions, each with less than 1% of the total.
Natural History Notes:
The tambaqui is the largest fruit- and seed-eating characin in the Amazon. Young fish feed heavily on zooplankton but gradually turn to fruits and seeds during the high water season. Adults feed mostly on fruits and seeds. Adult fish move off the floodplains when water level is falling rapidly and spend the low water period in river channels. At the beginning of rising water, schools of tambaqui begin to move upstream until spawning in the river channels at the beginning of the floods, after which they migrate to flooded forests of all river types. Large tambaqui are the highest-priced fish in the Central Amazon region and they have been heavily exploited since the late 1960s. Young fish now make up most of the tambaqui catch and the species has been overexploited in both the Central Amazon and Lower Amazon regions. Various restrictions exist to protect adult and young tambaqui from overfishing, but these have neither been respected by fishermen nor can they be enforced by authorities in such a large area. The best management strategy would be to prohibit sales of young tambaqui in urban markets.