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Temporal Stability in Fishing Spots: Conservation and Co-Management in Brazilian Artisanal Coastal Fisheries

Alpina Begossi, Unicamp

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Abstract

The management of small-scale artisanal fisheries in Brazil should be a priority because of their importance as a source of food for internal markets and their location in sites with high biodiversity, such as the Atlantic Forest coast. Fishing spots, territories, and sea tenure have been widely studied within artisanal fisheries, and, in this study, a fishing spot of this type may be a defended area or an area that imposes rules for users, making the exclusion of outsiders feasible, or even a place in which fishing occurs with some exclusivity. This analysis takes into account the importance of fishing areas for the conservation of artisanal fishing in Brazil and the relative temporal stability of these areas. In particular, examples of the use of the marine space on the coast of Brazil in areas such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Bahia States are presented. Fishing spots used by artisanal fishers were marked using a Global Positioning System (GPS). An informal division of the marine space and high temporal stability, often in the range of 10–30 yr, in the use of the fishing spots were found. For some fishing areas, information published in the 1960s provided a relevant comparison for the current use of the fishing spots at sea. Such information is very helpful for the management of artisanal fishing in Brazil because tourism has increased in some areas, recreational fishers have been fishing in marine spots used by artisanal fishers, and industrial fishers are spread over a wide range of the marine space in these coastal waters. This stability in the use of marine space among artisanal fishers plus local rules support the case for local co-management of artisanal fisheries. Reserving areas for artisanal fishers and understanding the behavior of other users are essential aspects for the management and conservation of artisanal fishing in Brazil.

Key words

artisanal fisheries; Amazon; Atlantic Forest coast, Brazil; co-management; territoriality; fishing accords
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087