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Fishers’ perceptions of river resources: case study of French Guiana native populations using contextual cognitive mapping

Abstract : This study focuses on fishers’ perceptions of interactions between their practices and their environment. The study was performed in the upper section of the Maroni River in French Guiana, a relatively remote region in the tropical rainforest where subsistence fishing still occurs. We assessed the fishers’ perceptions of their relationship with the river by asking them about the state of natural resources, their fishing practices, nearby activities, and their way of life. Cognitive mapping was used to capture their individual viewpoints, especially those that formed a consensus with the other fishers. Regardless of their ethnic group (Aluku vs. Amerindian) or way of life (subsistence vs. commercial fishing), most fishers generally shared the same views. The main perception was that fishing is threatened by illegal gold mining, increasing use of fishing nets, and a loss of knowledge of fish behaviour by younger generations of villagers. Furthermore, fishers perceived an ongoing shift in their role and relationship with the fish resource, which is becoming increasingly commercially oriented, and since the river is no longer the only source of food. Detailed analysis of arguments put forward to explain these threats shows that this process originates from ill-managed Westernization, which has caused painful changes in lifestyles of local populations, especially Amerindians. This analysis can also provide local governments with mechanisms for action. Our results raise questions about the future of this region and suggest ways to protect its natural resources better. They can help decision makers respond to poorly understood informal fisheries and motivate local residents to contribute to sustainable management of a river’s natural resources.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03148402
Contributor : Maryse Corvaisier <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 22, 2021 - 11:11:39 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 9:26:12 AM

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Guillaume Longin, Louis Bonneau de Beaufort, Guy Fontenelle, Raphaelle Rinaldo, Jean-Marc Roussel, et al.. Fishers’ perceptions of river resources: case study of French Guiana native populations using contextual cognitive mapping. Cybium : Revue Internationale d’Ichtyologie, Paris : Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, 2021, 45 (1), pp.5-20. ⟨10.26028/cybium/2021-451-001⟩. ⟨hal-03148402⟩

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