, Volume 770, Issue 1, pp 89–104 | Cite as

The human dimension of the conflict between fishermen and South American sea lions in southern Brazil

  • Ana Carolina Pont
  • Silvio Marchini
  • Mônica Tais Engel
  • Rodrigo Machado
  • Paulo Henrique Ott
  • Enrique A. Crespo
  • Mariano Coscarella
  • Marina Schmidt Dalzochio
  • Larissa Rosa de Oliveira
Primary Research Paper


We analysed the fishermen’s perceptions on the South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens) and its interactions with the local fishery close to the Wildlife Refuge of Ilha dos Lobos, a marine protected area in southern Brazil. Sea lions prey upon the same resources targeted by the fishermen. They repeatedly hunt on the nets and consequently damage them. In response, fishermen persecute sea lions. However, in conflicts with high-profile animals, the perceived damage often exceeds the actual evidence. Results from 100 interviews revealed that fishermen’s perception of damage and their attitudes were affected by age, hierarchical position in the crew, if fishing was the only source of income, and level of formal education. Greater perception of damage and more negative attitude were found among older, less educated sailor fishermen who had no other source of income besides fishing. The average fisherman had a relatively good knowledge about sea lions, but also a negative attitude towards them. We recommend actions addressing these negative attitudes through environmental education, with emphasis on adjusting exaggerated perceptions of impact and the potential of the species for wildlife tourism, as a vital step towards the conciliation of sustainable fisheries and O. flavescens conservation in the Brazilian coast.


Human–wildlife conflict Fishing interaction Fishermen’s perception Fishermen’s attitude Otaria flavescens 



The authors would like to thank all the fishermen from Torres and Passo de Torres, specially to Z18 association and Adriano Delfino Joaquim, that made this study possible. We are also grateful to Cádiz Sustainable Ideas Awards (Prêmio Cádiz Ideias Sustentáveis), Amnéville Zoo and Fundação Grupo O Boticário de Proteção à Natureza, for the financial support. The authors are in debt with: Shirley Pacheco for the valuable comments and suggestions, Fernando Lopes for the map, Fabrícia Barbieri and Francine Shultz for their collaboration during the project, Karina Groch and Paulo André de Carvalho Flores for providing the aerial photographs of the WRIL, Valentina Franco-Trecu and Diana Szteren for providing sea lions information from Uruguay, Dr. Stephen P. Kirkman, who kindly reviewed the final version of the manuscript and the anonymous referees for suggestions that significantly improved this manuscript. The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—CAPES) provided a scholar Master’s grant (PROSUP) to ACP and RM. The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—CNPq) provide the Research Productivity grants No. 303813/2011-3 and 308650/2014-0 to LRO.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Carolina Pont
    • 1
  • Silvio Marchini
    • 2
  • Mônica Tais Engel
    • 1
    • 3
  • Rodrigo Machado
    • 4
    • 5
  • Paulo Henrique Ott
    • 4
    • 6
  • Enrique A. Crespo
    • 7
  • Mariano Coscarella
    • 7
  • Marina Schmidt Dalzochio
    • 8
  • Larissa Rosa de Oliveira
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratório de Ecologia de MamíferosUniversidade do Vale do Rio dos SinosSão LeopoldoBrazil
  2. 2.Ciências Florestais Departamento, Luiz de Queiroz Faculdade de AgriculturaUniversidade de São PauloPiracicabaBrazil
  3. 3.Geography DepartmentMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada
  4. 4.Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do SulOsórioBrazil
  5. 5.Pós-Graduação em Biologia AnimalUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  6. 6.Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação de Organismos e Ambientes Aquáticos (ECOAqua)Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Sul (UERGS)OsórioBrazil
  7. 7.Laboratorio de Mamiferos MarinosCentro Nacional Patagonico (CENPAT-CONICET) and Universidad Nacional de la PatagoniaPuerto MadrynArgentina
  8. 8.Universidade Feevale, Pró-Reitoria de Assuntos Comunitários – PROACOMSão José, Novo HamburgoBrazil

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