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Keywords:

  • Amazon;
  • co-management;
  • fishing;
  • floodplain lakes;
  • productivity

Abstract  Co-management agreements, whereby community rules for the management of local floodplain lake fisheries are legalised and enforced by the government, have become common in the lower Amazon. Agreements are intended to limit exploitation, in particular by commercial boats, to raise stock abundance and fisheries productivity for the benefit of local subsistence-oriented fishers and for conservation. A spatially replicated observational study was carried out to evaluate the performance of fishing agreements in terms of perceived rule compliance and actual impacts on fishing activities, catch and catch per unit of effort (CPUE, a measure of fisheries productivity and proxy for stock abundance). Perceived rule compliance was high, and this was corroborated by observed changes in fishing practices. Catch per unit of effort was significantly higher (by 48% on average) in areas subject to fishing agreements than in control areas without. Most likely this effect was attributable to the effective exclusion of mobile commercial fishing boats. Household fishing effort and catch in local communities were not significantly affected by the agreements, although a tendency towards slightly higher catches at lower effort was noticeable. In conclusion, the co-management agreements have led to greater local control over resources and brought significant productivity and conservation benefits.