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Participatory Research with Fishers to Improve Knowledge on Small-Scale Fisheries in Tropical Rivers


  • Renato Azevedo Matias Silvano

    (Departamento de Ecologia e Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia—IB, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Rio Grande do Sul 91501-970, Brazil)

  • Gustavo Hallwass

    (Departamento de Ciências Biológicas - Campus Oriximiná, Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará (UFOPA), Oeste do Pará 68270-000, Brazil)


Freshwater small-scale fisheries sustain millions of livelihoods worldwide, but a lack of monitoring makes it difficult to check the sustainability of these fisheries. We aim to compare and describe participatory research methods used in studies with fishers in the Tapajos River, a poorly known tropical river in the Brazilian Amazon. We address three interview approaches, two ways to do fisheries monitoring and two approaches for georeferenced mapping based on fishers’ knowledge, which can provide data about at least 16 topics related to fisheries. We highlight major advantages and shortcomings of these methods and illustrate their potential with examples of results on fisheries and fish biology of Peacock bass ( Cichla spp. tucunaré in Brazil), an important commercial fish in the Brazilian Amazon. The interviews, participatory monitoring and mapping revealed which fish are more valued by local communities, how fish abundance and sizes varied over time, when fish are more often caught and show reproductive activity, and which sites or habitats fish need to reproduce. In addition to providing useful data from many sites in a cost-effective way, participatory methods can bring the additional benefit of including local stakeholders in the monitoring, management, and research activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Renato Azevedo Matias Silvano & Gustavo Hallwass, 2020. "Participatory Research with Fishers to Improve Knowledge on Small-Scale Fisheries in Tropical Rivers," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(11), pages 1-24, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:12:y:2020:i:11:p:4487-:d:365951

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Renato Silvano & John Valbo-Jørgensen, 2008. "Beyond fishermen’s tales: contributions of fishers’ local ecological knowledge to fish ecology and fisheries management," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 10(5), pages 657-675, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brenda Parlee & Henry Huntington & Fikret Berkes & Trevor Lantz & Leon Andrew & Joseph Tsannie & Cleo Reece & Corinne Porter & Vera Nicholson & Sharon Peter & Deb Simmons & Herman Michell & Melody Lep, 2021. "One-Size Does Not Fit All—A Networked Approach to Community-Based Monitoring in Large River Basins," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(13), pages 1-30, July.
    2. Ualerson Iran Peixoto & Morgan Casal-Ribeiro & Wendell M. Medeiros-Leal & Ana Novoa-Pabon & Mário Pinho & Régis Santos, 2022. "Scientific and Fisher’s Knowledge-Based Ecological Risk Assessment: Combining Approaches to Determine the Vulnerability of Fisheries Stocks," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(22), pages 1-18, November.

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