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Marine Policy
Volume 138, 2022, 104983

Interactions between small-scale fisheries and marine mammals from the perspective of fishers in the Mexican tropical pacific coast

Arturo Romero-Tenorioa,2, Manuel Mendoza-Carranzaa,1, Javier Francisco Valle-Morab

Grupo de manejo sustentable de cuencas y zonas costeras, Departamento de Ciencias de la Sustentabilidad, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, ECOSUR Unidad Villahermosa. Km 15.5 carretera a Reforma s/n, Villahermosa, Tabasco 86280, México.


The increase in fishing effort and the expansion of the fishing grounds of small-scale fisheries increase the interactions with marine mammals globally. Such interactions are poorly understood since data is difficult to obtain. The aim of this study is to infer the interactions between small-scale fisheries and marine mammals, based on the fisher’s perspective. We used the southern coast of Chiapas, Mexico as the location for the model. A total of 56 interviews and eight fishery trips were conducted in three fishing communities. Fishing vessels are 7 m long with an outboard engine with 58.9% of fishers using gillnets and 21.4% using longlines. Fishers were able to identify three marine mammal species in their fishing grounds: Tursiops truncatus, Stenella longirostris, and Stenella attenuata graffmani. However, based on photographs, fishers identified seven additional species. Tursiops truncatus interacts negatively with their fishing activities by stealing fish, ripping nets, interfering during sets, and stealing bait from longlines, which fosters a negative perception among fishers. Despite this, fishers implement low-impact mitigation measures. A Canonical Correspondence Analysis revealed the adverse impact of the common bottlenose dolphin on Scomberomorus sierra fishing with gillnets at the coastal zone. The presence of S. longirostris centroamericana and S. attenuata graffmani has a positive impact on the fishery because are indicators of fish schools. The perception of fishers is key to understanding the complex relationship between fisheries and marine mammals, and can help set the basis for management and conservation programs in areas where such interactions are intense.

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