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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Impact of dam-building on marine life

  • T. J. Pandian1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen33:BF02414766


Dam-building across naturally flowing rivers tends to decrease discharge of surplus water into the sea, reduce nutrient concentration in estuaries and coastal waters, and diminish plankton blooms as well as fish landings. Depletion of nutrients and organic matter along with reduced mud and silt deposition affect benthic life on the continental shelf. Reduced mud and silt deposition leads to coastal retreat. Dams, especially those constructed for hydro-electric purposes, hinder migration of fishes and decapods. Discharge from dams can create barriers at high or low flows, cause delays, disrupt normal behavioural routine and change the travel speed of migratory animals. Where all spawners of a given population are frequently kept away from the breeding site, the population faces extinction.