Fishermen's local knowledge of fishing resources may be an important source of information to improve artisanal tropical fisheries management, such as those found in Brazil, where most data on fish biology is lacking. We aim to study the local ecological knowledge that Brazilian coastal fishers have about reproductive aspects (season, places and migration) of 13 coastal fish species of commercial importance. We selected fishermen with more than 30 years of fishing practice and we interviewed a total of 67 fishermen: 29 from the southeastern coast, from the communities of Puruba, Almada, Picinguaba and Bertioga, and 38 from the northeastern coast, from the communities of Valença, Arembepe and Porto Sauípe. In the interviews, we used standardized questionnaires and showed photos of fish species. Our results indicate some general patterns in fishes' reproduction according to fishermen knowledge: fish species spawn in open ocean, near reefs or in coastal rivers (estuaries); some fishes reproduce during the summer and others in winter, while some have more defined spawning months. The main fish migratory patterns mentioned by interviewees were: long migrations along the coast, usually in the South to North direction, short migrations among reefs, fishes that do not migrate, migrations between the shore and open ocean and migrations between the sea and coastal rivers. Fishermen's knowledge differed among fish species: most fishermen did not know spawning places or seasons of large pelagic fishes, which raised concerns of their possible depletion. We compared such ethnoichthyological information with available scientific data, indicating promising insights about reproduction and migration of Brazilian coastal fishes. Data gathered from local fishermen may provide inexpensive and prompt information, potentially applicable to fisheries management. Our approach might be useful to several other small-scale fisheries, especially the tropical ones, where there is a high diversity of target species and a low biological and ecological knowledge about these species.
Dusky grouper (garoupa, Epinephelus marginatus) is an important catch for several artisanal smallscale fisheries along the Brazilian coast. It is a sedentary, monandric, and late maturing protogynous species, which makes it vulnerable to overharvesting even though it is mainly caught through hook and line or spear fishing through free diving. Lack of information on the ecology and biology of this species in Brazil is astonishing. Much of the information found in the literature concerns Mediterranean dusky groupers. Studies compiling local knowledge (ethnoecology) about fish species complement biological data, and have been fundamental for effective fisheries management. In this study, our objectives are to obtain data about dusky grouper through fish catches and analysis of stomach contents and gonad maturation (macroscopic analyses), along with interviews from fishermen from six small-scales communities from the southern (Pântano do Sul, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina State) to the northern Brazilian coast (Porto Sauípe, Bahia State). We conclude that precautionary approaches and 'data-less' management approaches are needed in the coast of Brazil. Research on this species and on the potential of aquaculture for its cultivation, are urgent, due to the apparent vulnerability and decrease of dusky grouper along the coast of Brazil.
We analyzed fishermen's local ecological knowledge (LEK) about the feeding habits, trophic interactions, habitats, fishing grounds, migration, and reproduction of nine coastal fishes in Búzios Island, southeastern Brazilian coast. We interviewed 39 fishermen using standardized questionnaires. Fishermen's LEK on habitat use and trophic interactions for the studied fishes agreed with the scientific literature, allowing the organization of reef and pelagic food webs. The interviewed fishermen mentioned that submerged rock formations would be important habitats for some large commercial fishes, such as Seriola spp., Caranx latus and Epinephelus marginatus. In some instances there was no scientific data to be compared with fishermen's LEK, and thus this kind of knowledge would be the only available source of information, such as for reproduction and migration of most of the studied fishes. We suggest herein ways to apply fishermen's LEK to develop and improve fisheries management measures, such as zoning of marine space, marine protected areas, and closed fishing seasons. Fishermen's LEK may be an important and feasible support to fisheries management and co-management.Analisamos o conhecimento ecológico local (CEL) dos pescadores sobre os hábitos alimentares, interações tróficas, habitats, locais de pesca, migração e reprodução de nove peixes costeiros na Ilha de Búzios, litoral sudeste do Brasil. Entrevistamos 39 pescadores, utilizando questionários padronizados. As informações sobre uso do habitat e interações tróficas entre os peixes estudados com base no CEL dos pescadores foram condizentes com a literatura científica, permitindo a organização de teias tróficas para os habitats recifal e pelágico. Os pescadores entrevistados mencionaram que formações de rochas submersas seriam habitats importantes para alguns peixes comerciais de grande porte, como Seriola spp., Caranx latus e Epinephelus marginatus. Em algumas circunstâncias, não haviam dados biológicos para serem comparados com o CEL dos pescadores, que, portanto seria a única fonte disponível de informação, por exemplo sobre a reprodução e migração de vários dos peixes estudados. Sugerimos aqui formas de aplicar o CEL dos pescadores para desenvolver e aprimorar medidas de manejo pesqueiro, como zoneamento do espaço marinho, áreas marinhas protegidas e épocas de defeso da pesca. O CEL dos pescadores pode ser um apoio importante e factível para iniciativas de manejo e co-manejo pesqueiro.
Food taboos or food prohibitions are still controversial in ecological anthropology and in human ecology. In the literature, the explanations for such taboos find their origin in the book of Leviticus in the Bible, or in the abundance of fat found in the tissue of different fish species, or on the consequences for conservation practices. In this comparative study, we show the various interpretations concerning the food taboos observed in tropical societies, including their association to the availability of resources, i.e., the protein coming from local fish resources. We show that, in the Amazon and on the Atlantic Forest coast, fish food taboos, or dietary prohibitions during illness, are associated with carnivorous fish, especially piscivorous fish, and the fish that are recommended for consumption during illness are usually herbivorous or invertebrate eaters. Explanation for this preference is based into the consideration that, at high trophic levels, animals may accumulate toxins by eating plants, invertebrates, or other fish. We therefore consider that fish food taboos may represent an adaptive strategy of local inhabitants of the Atlantic Forest coast and of Amazonian rivers.
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