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Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 12;6:34745. doi: 10.1038/srep34745.

Community-based management induces rapid recovery of a high-value tropical freshwater fishery.

Author information

1
Departamento de Ecologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN 59072-970, Brazil.
2
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.

Abstract

Tropical wetlands are highly threatened socio-ecological systems, where local communities rely heavily on aquatic animal protein, such as fish, to meet food security. Here, we quantify how a 'win-win' community-based resource management program induced stock recovery of the world's largest scaled freshwater fish (Arapaima gigas), providing both food and income. We analyzed stock assessment data over eight years and examined the effects of protected areas, community-based management, and landscape and limnological variables across 83 oxbow lakes monitored along a ~500-km section of the Juruá River of Western Brazilian Amazonia. Patterns of community management explained 71.8% of the variation in arapaima population sizes. Annual population counts showed that protected lakes on average contained 304.8 (±332.5) arapaimas, compared to only 9.2 (±9.8) in open-access lakes. Protected lakes have become analogous to a high-interest savings account, ensuring an average annual revenue of US$10,601 per community and US$1046.6 per household, greatly improving socioeconomic welfare. Arapaima management is a superb window of opportunity in harmonizing the co-delivery of sustainable resource management and poverty alleviation. We show that arapaima management deserves greater attention from policy makers across Amazonian countries, and highlight the need to include local stakeholders in conservation planning of Amazonian floodplains.

PMID:
27731319
PMCID:
PMC5059620
DOI:
10.1038/srep34745
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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