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Ambio. 2003 Jun;32(4):252-7.

From aquaculture goals to real social and ecological impacts: carp introduction in rural Central Mexico.

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  • 1Office of the President for Strategic Planning and Regional Development, Mexico.


Aquaculture has been seen as a solution to food/protein availability in rural populations of poor countries. It is mainly based on exotic species, that produce changes in host system dynamics once introduced. Aquaculture not only changes the ecology of freshwater systems, but can also lead to modification of social relations. Until now, aquaculture programs have not been adequately analyzed no questioned enough. We evaluate both ecological effects and local social benefits of common carp aquaculture programs in shallow ponds of rural areas, using a municipality in Central Mexico as a case study. Using an "environmental entitlements" approach, our findings suggest that: i) carp aquaculture increases water turbidity and depletes native species reducing the poor people's access to them; ii) aquaculture mainly benefits pond owners rather than poor peasants. This mainly results from changes in fishing rights. We conclude that aquaculture policy goals and assumptions of benefits should be reviewed, if the negative ecological effects are to be decreased and conditions for people in rural areas are to be improved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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