Managing Conflicts Between Eel Fishery and Conservation in a Protected Area: The Case of Santo André Lagoon (SW Europe)

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 2:30 PM
206B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Isabel Domingos , Centre of Oceanography, Lisbon, Portugal
Vera Lopes , Centre of Oceanography, Lisbon, Portugal
José Lino Costa , Centre of Oceanography, Lisbon, Portugal
Over the last decades the eel fishery in Santo André Lagoon experienced a dramatic decline due to the implementation of stricter rules, namely integration of the lagoon in a protected area, creation of an area of professional fishing and more recently, the establishment of a Closed Season (October to December). Because professional fishermen can fish eels for a very short period in this protected area, a conflict between fishermen and managers started. This study was conducted during the fishing season 2011/2012 and it engaged several stakeholders namely the fisher organization, fisheries resource managers, protected area managers and academics. Questionnaires on the fishing activity and management measures in force were made to around 60% of fishermen (n=20) and logbooks distributed to 10% of fishermen who volunteered to cooperate (n=5).  The results of this work identified the needs of fishermen that did not conflict with the purpose of conservation: the limits of the area of professional fishing; changes in the fishing hours and fishing season and the number of fyke nets permitted. The research demonstrated the benefits of extending the participatory management process, once some changes to management measures proposed by fishermen were introduced in the edict of the following fishing seasons.