Trained Community assists in biodiversity

From 12 to 15 November, the Ecological Research Institute (IPÊ) held two training programs on the self-monitoring of fishing in the Médio Juruá Extractive Reserve and the Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve, both in the state of Amazonas. In addition to a refresher course for the monitors trained last year, the event trained 27 new community members on how to monitor biodiversity in Conservation Units.

Fishing self-monitoring involves the community in the collection of helpful data. “Community members fish in the Juruá River for seven consecutive days and take note of what species they catch, how much the fish weigh, what they keep for their own consumption, and what they sell. The goal is to get an idea of what is being fished and what community members are eating. Are they eating or selling everything they fish?" explains Marcela Albuquerque, one of the IPÊ consultants that helped organize the course.

The program also includes practical lessons helping participants absorb knowledge and engage in discussions regarding the importance of monitoring. In addition, the event also sets the dates when monitoring will take place in 2020, taking into account the different fishing seasons (flood, spate, ebb and dry), which vary due to local river characteristics. 

According to Fernanda Freda, the IPÊ Consultant who delivered the training, the communities welcomed the new knowledge: “Lots of new people have joined us. The monitors that had been previously trained told us that they appreciated the refresher, which they described as an opportunity to clarify what they had already learned. The new monitors, in turn, said that they expected self-monitoring to be very hard, but after the course, they found it much simpler.”

The methodology was developed from discussions with ichthyologists and fishery management experts. It was later tested and, based on specific community demands, adapted as a cheaper and more efficient way to monitor and evaluate the aquatic environment and local fish species.

The courses are part of the National Biodiversity Monitoring Program (MONITORA) – Continental Aquatic Subprogram, run by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). It is coordinated by the National Center for Research and Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (CEPAM) in partnership with IPÊ, and is supported by PCAB and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.