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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 236-246

Foraging behaviour of Brazilian riverine and coastal fishers: How much is explained by the optimal foraging theory?

1 Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO), Campinas, SP; Depto. de Botânica, Ecologia e Zoologia, CB, UFRN, Natal, RN, Brazil
2 Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO); Pós Graduação em Desenvolvimento e Sociedade, UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Brazil
3 Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO), Campinas, SP; Depto. de Ecologia e Zoologia, CCB, UFSC, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
4 Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO), Campinas, SP, Brazil
5 Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO), Campinas, SP; Depto. de Ecologia, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
6 Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO); CAPESCA (LEPAC, PREAC) and CMU (UNICAMP), Campinas, SP, Brazil

Correspondence Address:
Priscila F.M. Lopes
Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO), Campinas, SP; Depto. de Botânica, Ecologia e Zoologia, CB, UFRN, Natal, RN, Brazil

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.86994

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Optimal Foraging Theory (OFT) is here applied to analyse the foraging behaviour of Brazilian artisanal fishers of the Atlantic coast (Itacuruçá and São Paulo Bagre villages) and of the inland Amazonian region (Jarauá and Ebenezer villages). Two OFT predictions are tested. Hypotheis1: A fisher who travels to more distant sites should return with more fish, and Hypothesis 2: The further a fisher goes, the longer s/he should stay fishing in a patch. OFT did not explain fishers' behaviour (non-significant regressions for coastal villages) or explain it in specific seasons (low water season for one Amazonian village: H1 r 2 =24.1; H2 r 2 =37.2) and in specific habitats (e.g., lakes and backwaters in Jarauá village, Lakes: H1 r 2 =13.5; H2 r 2 =24.0; Backwaters: H1 r 2 =34.4; H2 r 2 =46.5). The findings can indicate areas or seasons that are under higher fishing pressure, when fishers try to get the best out of a situation without any concern about resource conservation. By knowing the variables that influence fishers' decision-making processes, management initiatives may be more fine-tuned to the local reality and are thus more likely to succeed.

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