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Common Property Resource System in a Fishery of the Sao Francisco River, Minas Gerais, Brazil

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Tho, Ana Paula Glinfskoi; Nordi, Nivaldo
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1436
Sector: Fisheries
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
fisheries
common pool resources
co-management
Ostrom, Elinor
tragedy of the commons
access
rules
Abstract: "Studies of local natural resource management institutions have contributed to many co-management agreements around the world and also have demonstrated how communities interact with their environment through their culture and social organization. Common Property Systems (CPS) which define duties and rights in the use of natural resources are examples of these interactions. But as Ostrom (1990: 14) notes: 'getting institutions right...is a process that requires reliable information about time and place variables, as well as a broad repertoire of culturally acceptable rules.' One of the potential benefits of co-management institutions is the inclusion of a variety of information systems and knowledge bases. With extensive environmental resources, it is difficult for either the state or local user groups to have a complete understanding of the condition of the entire system. Local users have intensive knowledge and understanding about day to day local uses and conditions, while national governments and international NGOs have financial and administrative resources to tackle large-scale scientific research. "In this paper we examine the role of local ecological knowledge in the management of one common pool resource, the artisanal fishery at Buritizeiro, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The research, which focused on the formation of local institutions and the factors which contributed to the development of these institutions, was carried out between 1999 and 2001 with 7 field trips of 15 days each. Open and structured interviews were conducted, complemented by direct observation of the fishing activity. During three field trips, the fishery yield was recorded for 175 fishery shifts. "Approximately 30 fishermen share the rights to access and use of four principal fishing spots in the rapids. In addition to operational rules, decision-making rules related to management, and exclusion and alienation rights have been developed. Local ecological knowledge helps the fishermen identify most productive fishing spots, has been instrumental in determining the limits of the CPS area, maintains fishery yield (average: 7.29kg/fisherman/day), and has provided the basis for institutional rules regulating the spatial and temporal limitations for each user. As the number of resource users has increased over the years due to the lack of other job opportunities in the region, this CPS has demonstrated flexibility in the rights to access and use, avoiding conflicts among the users and ensuring its longevity. The success of this CPS can help in the development of appropriate policy for fishery co-management plans in this area."

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