2014-11-12. Fishermen in Brazil Save a River Goliath, and Their Livelihoods.

posted Nov 13, 2014, 7:17 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 7. Excerpt: TEFÉ, Brazil ...In piranha-infested waters, fishermen go in search of the pirarucu, which can grow as long as seven feet and weigh more than 400 pounds, placing them in the ranks of freshwater megafish.... With overfishing and habitat degradation threatening such Goliaths in different parts of the world, riverbank dwellers and biologists in the Amazon are working together to save the pirarucu (pronounced pee-rah-roo-KOO) by prohibiting outsiders from catching the fish and overhauling their own methods of pursuing it. Their effort to save the fish is yielding a pioneering conservation success story in the Amazon while offering a strategy for fending off a broader freshwater extinction crisis, according to fisheries experts who track the depletion of big fish in the world’s rivers and lakes. ...Authorities began by issuing a general ban on pirarucu fishing in 1996 in Amazonas — the giant Brazilian state in the Amazon River basin that is three times the size of California — but granting local peoples exclusive fishing rights to waters in their territory. ...More than 1,400 fishermen in and around Mamirauá take part in the pirarucu management regime, hewing to quotas and tagging each fish they catch. Fishermen in 2013 took home an average of about $650 each from pirarucu fishing, a welcome sum in far-flung villages. Still, illegal pirarucu fishing flourishes in parts of the Amazon, lowering prices for the fish in street markets.... By Simon Romero, The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/world/fishermen-in-brazil-save-a-river-goliath-and-their-livelihoods.html.