The reintroduction of threatened fish species in areas where wild populations have been depleted due to anthropogenic impacts is an increasingly popular conservation tool and mitigation policy. Despite the importance of fish reintroduction for conservation purposes, little is known about its efficiency. Here, we assessed the viability of reintroduction of the endangered migratory fish, Brycon orbignyanus, in an area of the Upper Uruguay River basin where the species has not been reported for more than 30 years. We released 4000 yearling juveniles in the Pelotas River in 2014 and maintained 400 juveniles in captivity as a control population. After three years, a total of 13 individuals was recaptured, of which, 10 were considered sexually mature with first maturation being recorded in animals larger than 42 cm in total body length. The age–length comparison with a control population growth curve showed that recaptured fish were slightly bigger than those in captivity. Furthermore, important ecological attributes as schooling behavior and dispersal capacity were recorded for all recaptured individuals. Combined, our results suggest that the re-establishment of a self-sustained population of locally extinct species B. orbignyanus in the Pelotas River may be successful if sustained over time and supported by conservation policies.
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