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Participatory monitoring of small-scale coastal fisheries in South America: use of fishers’ knowledge and factors affecting participation

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Abstract

Participatory approaches to fisheries management are gaining increasing support from researchers, non-governmental organizations, and governments in Latin America, and different forms of participatory monitoring have been implemented over the last few decades. Among several advantages, these initiatives allow incorporation of fishers’ knowledge on ecology, fishing practices, social aspects, markets, regulations, into different stages of management. In this paper, we analyze key features of participatory monitoring programs in small-scale coastal fisheries in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay) through a literature review complemented by expert opinion. Our review considered the fisheries and variables monitored; objectives, duration, institutional context of the monitoring programs; and factors that affect the extent of fishers’ participation and the incorporation of fishers’ knowledge. We found 14 case studies described in the literature, most of which correspond to benthic fisheries. Most cases focused on ecological and/or catch and effort variables; few initiatives included social variables. Initiatives were mainly driven by researchers in partnership with fishers and other stakeholders under formal or informal institutional arrangements. Institutional arrangements were largely responsible for the effectiveness of participation. In most cases, fishers’ participation in monitoring was fostered as a component of a broader participatory co-management approach. Despite the challenges, participatory monitoring approaches are gaining traction in South America, receiving significant support from researchers in most cases, and from nongovernmental organizations in some cases. Increased governmental support for implementing and sustaining long-lasting participatory monitoring programs would strengthen monitoring initiatives that emerge locally.

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Notes

  1. We use the term “fishers” as a generic term to refer indistinctly to fishermen and fisherwomen.

  2. Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Chile, SUBPESCA.

  3. SocMon is a global initiative aimed to establish local programs of socioeconomic monitoring in coastal areas, to complement biological and ecological monitoring.

  4. Indicators include total returns obtained by the organization from resources extracted inside AMERBs, total costs, benefit/cost ratio, and average gross returns per member (solely considering AMERB catches).

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Dias, A.C.E., Cinti, A., Parma, A.M. et al. Participatory monitoring of small-scale coastal fisheries in South America: use of fishers’ knowledge and factors affecting participation. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 30, 313–333 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-020-09602-2

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