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Fisheries Co-Management in the Lower Amazon: An Evaluation of the Voluntary Monitoring System

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Almeida, Oriana T.; Amaral, Lucilene; McGrath, David
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/807
Sector: Social Organization
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
community participation
monitoring and sanctioning
Amazon River region
Abstract: "During the last 5 years the Brazilian government environmental agency Ibama implemented a co-management system in which communities of the Amazon floodplain have developed management systems to monitor and enforce fishing agreements. The objective of this research is to evaluate the monitoring system for community management, and to compare the costs incurred by participating communities and the federal government. The research involved interviews with 41 Volunteer Environmental Agents (VEAs) trained by IBAMA (out of a total of 144) from 32 communities to examine the management and enforcement activities of the VEAs. Included in the research was an examination of the monitoring systems used by participating communities, the number of patrols taken by VEAs per year, the people involved in each surveillance trip, and the costs of labor, food and materials. IBAMA agents were interviewed to estimate the costs of training and the costs of patrols carried out by the federal agency. Results showed that communities organized on average 3 meetings per year to discuss participation in the voluntary system. Communities also carried out 32 patrols per year consisting of 6 members and lasting approximately 13 hours each. IBAMA undertook 20 8 day trips to visit 32 communities. The VEAs evaluated the monitoring system as successful. They reported only two conflicts per community per year. Monitoring costs for the community included food, gas and opportunity costs of labour, amounting to R$221000/yr for all communities. IBAMA had a total cost of R$120.000. Communities dedicate 326 person days per year to monitoring lake fisheries. The federal government dedicates 5 days per community to monitoring activities. In addition to the lack of financial support by the government, 58% of VEAs also report a lack of support by community members as a key problem of the volunteer system and 25% of VEAs report a lack of support by IBAMA. VEAs further report a reduction in community participation in the volunteer system by 25% in the last five years. The lack of participation by community members shows that there is little incentive for community members to participate in the system. Payment of community labour by the federal government might reduce the risk of failure. The system would still be inexpensive compared to the cost to IBAMAÃ?â??Ã?ÂŽs under the traditional model. For example, if the total community investment were undertaken by the federal government the costs of monitoring the lakes would be R$1,992,895. This figure is 21 times larger then the present estimated cost of community labour (R$ 95,454.55). If the federal government would pay the cost of labour to the community (R$11/day of work), the system could become sustainable. With the reduction in volunteer participation in the monitoring system, only financial support by the federal government will sustain the monitoring system that is essential to the viability of the community management system. "

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