Article

Human Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 167-195

Fisheries and the evolution of resource management on the lower Amazon floodplain

  • David G. McGrathAffiliated withNAEA, Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos, Universidade Federal do Pará
  • , Fabio de CastroAffiliated withInstituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, IMAZON
  • , Celia FutemmaAffiliated withInstituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, IMAZON
  • , Benedito Domingues de AmaralAffiliated withInstituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, IMAZON
  • , Juliana CalabriaAffiliated withInstituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia, IMAZON

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Abstract

Traditionally, the ribeirinhoeconomy has been based on strategies of multiple resource use including agriculture, fishing, and small-scale stock raising. In the last two decades though, ribeirinhostrategies of resource management have undergone major changes due to the decline of jute production (the principal cash crop), and the intensification of the commercial fisheries. As a result of these trends, there has been a shift of ribeirinholabor from agriculture to commercial fishing. Today, the diversity which once characterized ribeirinhosubsistence strategies is disappearing, and fishing has become the primary economic activity for the great majority of varzeafamilies. As pressure on varzeafisheries has increased, ribeirinhocommunities have attempted to assert control over local varzealakes and exclude fishermen from outside the community. In a number of cases, ribeirinhocommunities have closed lakes to outsiders and established informal lake reserves under local community management. These lake reserves are a promising strategy for managing lake fisheries on a sustainable basis.

Key words

ribeirinho economy commercial fisheries Amazon floodplain