How are the lakes? Environmental perception by fishermen and alien fish dispersal in brazilian tropical lakes
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Alien species introduction is considered worldwide as one of the most important threats to biodiversity. In the Middle Doce River (Southeastern Brazil) the introduction of alien fish had caused the decline and local extinction of some native fishes. In the present study 50 inhabitants of two nearby communities (Baixa Verde and Cava Grande) were interviewed in order to explore their environmental perception and to determine their role in intentional fish dispersal in this river system. The majority of respondents were dedicated to artisanal fishery. Local people perceived environmental alterations, including the reduction of fish population, but few could relate this alteration to alien fishes. They heard about alien fishes, but only half of the interviewees could explain what an alien species is. The difficulty in explaining the meaning of alien species and the weak perception of the link between alien fish presence and reduction of native fish by the interviewed people was considered an indication of poor knowledge by local people about fish introductions. A well designed management plan to address this problem should focus on scientific education questions, on the increase of community participation in environmental decisions, and on increasing the strength of local environmental institutions.
Alien fish, Biodiversity conservation, Ethnobiology, Environmental perception, Fish ecology, Tropical lakes
LIMA, Flávia Pereira; LATINI, Anderson Oliveira; DE MARCO JÚNIOR, Paulo. How are the lakes? Environmental perception by fishermen and alien fish dispersal in brazilian tropical lakes. Interciência, Caracas, v. 35, n. 2, p. 84-91, Feb. 2010.