Challenges and prospects of fisheries co-management under a marine extractive reserve framework in Northeastern Brazil


In Brazil, Marine Extractive Reserves-MERs (Reservas Extrativistas Marinhas) represent the most significant government-supported effort to protect the common property resources upon which traditional small-scale fishers depend. From an initial small-scale experience in 1992, MERs have expanded countrywide, now encompassing 30 units (9,700 km(2)) and nearly 60,000 fishers. Despite such escalating interest in the model, there is little research on the effectiveness of MERs. In this article, we discuss relevant parts of the history and examine the current situation of the fisheries co-management initiative in the Marine Extractive Reserve of Corumbau, which was created in 2000 as the first MER to encompass coral reefs and reef fisheries. We describe the Extractive Reserve co-management arrangement and its main policy and legislative challenges. Finally, we discuss the prospects for the use of MERs as management frameworks for traditional small-scale fisheries in Brazil.

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