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Peixe Vivo Program

.Program aimed at preserving the fish population in Minas Gerais by funding research projects.

The “Peixe Vivo” (Living Fish) Program was created in 2007 and since its creation, it operates on two fronts – one that aims at preserving fish populations in the State of Minas Gerais, through funding and support for research projects, and the other focused on the formation of protection strategies to avoid and prevent the death of fish in Cemig’s hydroelectric power plants.

After more than 10 years of activities, the Program is recognized for conducting improvements in practices related to ichthyofauna in the electrical sector. The positive impacts of the program are reflected in the significant reduction in fish deaths and, consequently, in environmental fines, in the improvement of management and conservation programs with solid scientific bases and the participation in the indexes of the company’s sustainability.

MISSION

Its primary mission is to minimize the impact on the ichthyofauna, seeking solutions and management technologies that integrate the generation of electricity by Cemig with the conservation of native fish species.  

VISION

Expanding Cemig’s performance in strategic actions that ensure the conservation of native fish in the watersheds where the company operates and promoting environmental public policies based on technical/scientific knowledge, through the integration of the different sectors involved in the subject, long-term planning and optimization of resource use.  

PRINCIPLES

  • Adopt scientific criteria for decision-making.
  • Change practices adopted according to generated information.
  • Encouraging the disclosure of the program information to society
  • Work in collaboration with other institutions.

Program Pillars

The activities of “Peixe Vivo” (Living Fish) Program are guided and directed by three pillars:

  • Research and development;
  • Management and conservation;
  • Relationship with the community.

In order to create more efficient strategies and subsidize environmental conservation programs, Cemig has established a number of partnerships with research centers, universities and foundations. Part of these partnerships are carried out through projects developed with the Research and Development Program (R&D) of the National Electrical Energy Agency (ANEEL) and the other part, with the Company’s own resources.

Studies developed measure the efficiency of the work carried out and the need for interventions, in addition to bringing important data on river basins, ensuring that conservation strategies for ichthyofauna adopted by the program are scientifically defensible.

In all these years of the Program:

  • Twenty-four projects were carried out, five of which are still running, with the involvement of at least 10 universities and investments of over R$ 40 million in research;
  • More than 500 technical-scientific papers were produced as a result of program activities and projects developed in collaboration. So far, there are 90 scientific articles, 7 books and 42 book chapters;
  • Projects developed in collaboration with the program have helped graduate 15 Doctors and 46 Masters;
  • In all, more than 230 employees were involved, among them teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Aiming at the best practices for management and conservation of fish, through partnerships within the company, programs, procedures and internal indicators were improved and developed, always with scientific support.

In order to reduce any impact during the operation and maintenance of power plants, the Program for Risk Assessment of Fish Death in Hydroelectric Power Plants of Cemig Group is performed under the coordination of “Peixe Vivo” team.  

This makes it possible to assess potential risks to ichthyofauna during the operation of hydroelectric power plants through periodic monitoring and pre-maneuvering monitoring, determining fish density and environmental conditions downstream of hydroelectric power plants. This information, in addition to composing a database, subsidizes corrective and operational actions related to environmental safety of the procedures performed. Aspects of biology of fish species most affected by the maintenance procedures of generating units are also assessed, to better understand the relationship between biological factors and the presence of these species downstream of the power plants.

Another important action is to assess the need to implement transposition systems that allow fish to pass through the dams, enabling migration between spawning areas and feeding areas.  

This assessment, carried out for both existing and new ventures, is essential to measure the efficiency and cost-benefit of each of the proposed solutions and takes into account factors such as the characteristics of each plant and the local fish fauna.

Results

After a little more than 10 years of the Peixe Vivo (Living Fish) program, the work developed was responsible for the 76% reduction in the annual average of fish deaths, with the consequent decrease of 97.7% in environmental fines.

More than R$ 12 million were invested in structural improvements in power plants and environmental stations. With these results, “Peixe Vivo” became a reference for other concessionaires in the sector, being sought for consulting.

In addition to disseminating the results generated and establishing communication channels with the various support groups, “Peixe Vivo” has already carried out several initiatives with local communities. The program also seeks tools to meet local demands, formulate proposals for sustainable changes, build partnerships and multiply the concepts applied.

The first initiative, right at the beginning of “Peixe Vivo” in 2007, was to hold workshops with researchers. In these events representatives of NGOs and public bodies, fishermen and representatives of society met, with the purpose of collecting proposals for the improvement and preservation of ichthyofauna in Minas Gerais.

One of the suggestions met was the environmental education work carried out with several different people, including children and river dwellers, who receive information and participate in actions of “Peixe Vivo”, such as fish farming. There are also interactive spaces for the exchange of knowledge through technical forums and participation in events throughout the country.

In addition, other community relations activities have already been developed throughout the program, such as the attendance of 150 students per semester who participated in professional workshops and water sports classes at “Três Marias” Lake from 2010 to 2014.

It is also important for “Peixe Vivo” to monitor the landing of fish at “Emborcação” HPP, which has been taking place since 2016. This diagnosis has the support of local fishermen to generate knowledge about the region’s fishing stock and understand the needs to improve fishing and fish in the region.

Another focus of the program is the search for interactive spaces for knowledge exchange through technical forums, seminars and participation in events throughout the country. Different media is also used to ensure the community’s follow-up, in addition to keeping the press informed about all the activities carried out. To support the goals of the communication work, Cemig has invested in the production of institutional and promotional material, videos and publications.

Results

Several public consultations were carried out with different sectors (environmental agencies, researchers, NGOs, river dwellers, etc.) to survey demands and prioritize proposals for conservation and mitigation of impacts on fish.

Furthermore, over 230 events counted on the program in their production, support or participation.

Learn more about the projects developed since 2006 with the community:

Integrated workshops

“Peixe Vivo” held workshops with NGOs, researchers, fishermen, environmental agencies and other sectors of Três Marias community, in addition to promoting workshops with Cemig professionals throughout the state and consultancy with national and international experts.

Environmental education

Based on participative pedagogical proposals, the purpose is to involve the community in environmental issues related to fish fauna, allowing a critical analysis on the subject, the expansion of discussion and the disclosure of information.

Fish Stock

Fish stocks are good opportunities to involve the community with the issues addressed by “Peixe Vivo”. With small breaks in the colder months and reproductive periods, Cemig performs the release of fish during the year in several cities in Minas Gerais.

Community interaction

“Peixe Vivo” gives priority to direct contact with the communities impacted by the energy generation process and establishes with them a relationship of co-responsibility for the preservation of the ecosystem.

Events

“Peixe Vivo” creates interactive spaces for knowledge exchange, in which it is possible to share experiences with the different segments of the community and with employees.

Citizenship, sport and tourism

In collaboration with “Rumo Náutico” Institute and the City Hall, the Sailing Boat School promoted unprecedented initiatives in Minas Gerais between 2010 and 2014. This initiative was based on three educational programs: sports initiation, complementary education and professional training.

In order to make all this work of awareness and structuring really accessible, Cemig carried out structural adjustments in all the plants that offered risks to the fish during the operational maneuvers. In addition:

  • With the creation of the screened grid, for example, the number of fish entering the suction reduced almost 93% in the first year of use at “Três Marias” Hydroelectric Power Plant;
  • This schooling system has been automated, reducing the time for the bars to descend until the complete closure of the suction channel;
  • The pipes that lead the cooling water from the plant’s generating units to the river have been lengthened to prevent fish from jumping on the concrete blocks attracted by the water;
  • A seminar was held with researchers and technicians to present developed studies and discuss several aspects related to the transposition of fish in dams.

To learn more about “Peixe Vivo” project, access our library, with important books and articles about the Program and its development over the years.