Socio-ecological assessment for environmental planning in coastal fishery areas: A case study in Brazilian mangroves

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2017-03-15

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Along the world's (sub) tropics mangroves are important coastal ecosystems supporting small-scale fisheries and human populations, highlighting the need to consider participatory approaches in this ecosystem management. We carried out a socio-ecological assessment to characterize the use and perceptions of local populations at Northeastern Brazil (São Francisco River Estuary) on mangrove fisheries and local development, and pointed out strategies for environmental planning. The questionnaire-based results show that the locals are economically dependent on mangrove fisheries, exploring 12 types of fish, 4 types of crabs, 3 types of mollusks and shrimps. All populations indicated a decrease in the fishery yield, mainly due to a high fishery pressure and shrimp farming. We conclude that strategies pointed out by the locals as creation of an protected area of sustainable use (Extractive Reserve), aided by government support to create a local small-scale fishery processing industry, to cultivate oysters and fish and ecotourism are sustainable alternatives for poverty alleviation and mangrove conservation. These alternatives and the socio-ecological assessment should be a guideline for other mangroves areas worldwide with similar environmental problems and where fishery is the base of economic subsistence, in order to guarantees the long term sustainability of mangrove socio-ecological systems.

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Ocean and Coastal Management, v. 138, p. 60-69.

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