A new research project has been approved by the University of Belgrano by Resolution of the Rectorship 006/2018. It aims at making a "Contribution to the sustainable development of the Lower Paraná Delta". It will do so by studying the variations of the natural resources and collecting indicators of contamination. The project has the scientific support of Mundus maris. The Club de Pescadores de Buenos Aires with whom the University has signed collaboration agreements helps with logistics. The management of the Parana Delta Biosphere Reserve will provide personnel, a boat and the housing for the researchers doing field work.

Different factors, including climate change, are affecting the quality of the waters of the Paraná Delta as well as its ecosystems of natural resources. Part of this region has been declared a Ramsar site in 2016, due to its importance as an ecological corridor and freshwater reserve. The Paraná Delta includes the homonymous Biosphere Reserve, a site of exceptional potential to study the anthropogenic impact levels, direct and indirect, on the local natural environment, including the fish resources.

The contamination of water with sewage can cause eutrophication phenomena favouring blooms of cyanobacteria, which represent a risk to the health of local human communities and to the living resources of the Lower Paraná Delta. The purpose of this research will be to contribute to the understanding of these phenomena by recording catch data from artisanal and recreational fishermen, which will indirectly infer the population fluctuations of the fish, also considering the environmental variables. The study will be complemented with phytoplankton analyses, mainly cyanobacteria and diatoms, in order to analyse contamination risks. Both studies will be fed into georeferenced maps and time series data.

The project includes radio broadcasts through the Latitud 0 Programme as a way to share research results in a timely manner with a wider public. This is broadcast by Radio Alma in Brussels. The production of a 45-minute documentary as another outreach vehicle, which will be directed by Dr. Marcelo Morales Yokobori, professor of Ecology, Conservation and Marine Resources of the University of Belgrano. He is also a member of Mundus maris. The graduate student Penelope Piaggio Quirino is already recording fish capture data since January 2018 as part of her thesis work.

Map: To the south, the city of Buenos Aires and its suburbs. To the north, the Paraná Delta. To the east, the Río de la Plata. The green demarcation outlines the Paraná Delta Biosphere Reserve (Program "Man and the Biosphere" of the United Nations). Indicated with orange letters are the headquarters of the Fishermen's Club that will serve as logistic bases.

Watch this space for updates on the research.

Further reading: Kalesnik, F. y C. Kandel, 2004. Reserva de Biosfera Delta del Paraná. Formación en educación para el ambiente y el desarrollo. Municipalidad de San Fernando. 251 p. + indice