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The Experience of Community-Based Management of Middle Amazonian Fisheries

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Isaac, Victoria J.; Ruffino, Mauro L.; McGrath, David
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/582
Sector: Fisheries
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
artisanal fishing
fishing gear
Amazon River region
Abstract: "Amazonian fisheries have the characteristics of a typical tropical artisanal fishery. More than 200 species are captured utilizing a variety of gear types. One in five residents can be characterized as engaging primarily in fishing activites. Despite the importance of fishing in the regional economy, there are no official statistics on actual production. Due to the rapid demographic increase, the improvement of fishery technology and the absence of government supervision, pressure on aquatic resources have been increased in the last decades. Various user groups (communities, ranchers and outside commercial fishers) have been involved in serious conflicts over access to fish and other aquatic resources. In response to this competition for local resources, floodplain communities of the Middle Amazon are developing and implementing new forms of management of fish resources, based on traditional knowledge and collective agreements, with the aim of preserving the productivity of their fisheries. However, Brazilian legislation determines that all water resources and their fauna are public domain and does not guarantee regulation of access to these 'common goods'. In this context, in the early nineties various initiatives for resolving the problem have been proposed for the region. "As a consequence of the growing support for particpatory approaches, the official concept of fishery management in the Amazon is changing, and fishing accords are now considered as potentially 'legalizable'. Government fisheries policies are beginning to change from the technocentric approach which has characterized Brazilian fisheries policy to a more decentralized and participatory approach to fisheries management. "This paper examines the development of this integrated, mulitdisciplinary approach to fishery management in the Middle Amazon, as a result of the work of government agencies, floodplain communities, fishers unions, non governmental organizations and scientific research insitutions. We propose a new management model in which fishers, scientists, and fisheries administrators jointly manage the resource."

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