Knowledge about sea turtles
Keeping in mind that the survey was conducted only with fishermen experts who had been recognized as knowledgeable about fishing in the region, one can say that we recorded as much information as possible and that no other local fishermen had different or deeper knowledge than what we recorded. The index we generated to measure local ecological knowledge presented an acceptable degree of reliability. According to Gabriel and Tritapepe
, values of Cronbach’s alpha above 0.6 are considered satisfactory for opinion polls. The local ecological knowledge about sea turtles according to the Likert scale was predominantly medium and high, which was expected due to the long fishing trips, which helps to increase the probability of encounters with animals. Regarding indicator individually, no fisherman got full or zero knowledge about the animal, which was expected, because most fishermen have already reported some contact with turtle at sea or on the beaches, which helps to generate information habitat, breeding and feeding sites and nesting.
It was assumed that the fishermen who were identified by the indication networks in the two colonies had a deeper knowledge of turtles. This assumption may be incorrect considering that fishing effort is directed towards species of fish and laws are currently in place in Brazil that restrict fishing for turtles, with the result that fishermen’s contact with turtles is only casual. Most of the fishermen experts we interviewed also use a bottom line, which is considered a type of fishing gear that is less likely to catch turtles compared with other types of gear
. Calo et al. concluded that the fishermen of the same study area possess considerable knowledge about snapper fish (Actinopterygii: Teleostei) “vermelhos”, a group of large fish, knowledge which was possibly acquired by exploiting the fish with fishing gear, an activity which does not occur with the sea turtle.
Sea turtles are considered key species in coral reef communities
[53, 59]. Many interviewed fishermen reported avoiding fishing in areas where there is a greater probability of interaction with the animal. Decree No. 037 regulating Municipal Law No. 3212 of 01/30/2006 was completed in 2011 for the realization of the creation of Municipal Marine Park Ilhéus to protect some marine species, with an emphasis on Epinephelus itajara (the goliath grouper). Even while under construction, the existence of this initiative may explain the avoidance of this type of ecosystem by fishermen in the region, which in the future may have a positive effect on the population growth of sea turtles in the region. However, the regulations imposed on fishermen to reduce fishing should always be constantly monitored and revised because the survival of individuals in fishing areas may often depend on the attitudes of the fisherman, who in a given time can be influenced negatively, especially when there is an initial assessment appropriate to the likely impacts to coastal communities
. Another reason for the low capture rate of turtles is that contact between fishermen and the animal may cause a decrease in fishing effort, generating financial and material losses, even if minimal. Marcovaldi et al. report that fishing-animal interactions can cause damage to the fishing target. Nevertheless, the fact that many interviewees said that turtles do not affect their fishing is not for the simple reason that turtles do not cause any equipment damage or reduction in effective fishing time, but because they have only occasional contact with turtles and consequently the probability of damage caused by turtles is low. This fact can also be a reflection of the continued work of the Tamar as in many parts of the Brazilian coast, through which many anglers may have absorbed a more conservationist discourse that is not necessarily (but can be) a reflection of realities in their day-to-day.
Despite the finding that the fishermen’s local ecological knowledge about sea turtles as communicated through interviews was not within the range that represents deep knowledge, the interviews with experts did identify areas of great importance for nesting turtles. In these sub-areas of Ilhéus on the southern coast of Bahia, there are records of strandings of four species of sea turtles
. The increased recognition of hawksbill turtles in the projective test can be explained by the fact that hawksbill species have been recorded nesting on the southern coast of Bahia
 relation to the projective still some limitations methodology as shown figures (drawings and pictures two-dimensional), the color variation of the hull according to the animal immersion in water may have been implicated in the recognition species.
In the municipalities of Itacaré and Uruçuca, there are reports of turtle nests on the beaches of Pompilho, Itacarezinho and Patizeiro
. Due to the hawksbill turtle’s peculiarities, for decades products have been extracted from the animals for export and sale to tourists
. Among all species, the hawksbill turtle is the one that has suffered the greater depredation as a result of its shell
. The hawksbill turtle’s shell holds more use than those of other species, and their greater contact with fishermen may have influenced the collaboration and greater recognition on the part of respondents.
There are few studies in the literature that address the history of the leatherback turtle in the state of Bahia. The current conservation status of the species is “in critical condition”
[3, 5]. There are sporadic reports of spawning in the extreme south of Bahia
, and the shore in the state of Espírito do Santo is cited as the most important nesting area for this species in Brazil
, with a population that is genetically differentiated from the rest of the country
. In the present study, some fishermen were able to identify the leatherback turtle, even if they had only fished in southern Bahia throughout their lives. Huntington
 emphasizes the importance of incorporating this type of local ecological knowledge into research projects and management strategies and of integrating, analyzing and incorporating this new knowledge. Thus, this type of initial information can be an important step for the conservation of potential new nesting areas of the species in southern Bahia, where studies on population structure and nest monitoring are nonexistent.
Even with a few catches to the bottom line in the study area, fishermen warned of the impact of the use of net fishing in the region. Trawling for lobster and the use of fishing nets have been identified as one of the main threats to sea turtle populations worldwide
[12, 17, 68, 69]. In Brazil, the impact of lobster trawling in Bahia has already been observed
. These methods can drive large decreases in sea turtle populations because forced apnea may further aggravate the state of captured turtles, which can lead to death
Attitudes towards conservation and their relationship with other variables - The low Cronbach’s alpha value suggests that the items analyzed express different attributes and cannot be jointly adopted in the calculation of a one-dimensional variable
. For Pereira
, there is a stipulated amount of alpha needed to determine the validity of an indicator. Values above 0.40 have been satisfactory for some studies
Fishermen experts demonstrated predominantly positive attitudes. Coastal communities with nesting areas in Sri Lanka exhibited similar attitudes
. The influence of community attitudes towards conservation in traditional and some demographic variables has been almost nonexistent
[74, 75]. Negative attitudes were provided by fishermen with a greater number of children because it is expected that a family with a large number of members requires a greater amount of food energy for their sustenance. In Boer and Baquete
 also found no relationship between number of children and attitudes around an elephant reserve in Mozambique. Even with environmental education activities and occasional lectures given to members of the local community, no trend was identified between attitudes and time associated with the fishing colony. As was observed in the fishing community in this study, the age of the respondents did not influence attitudes in two protected areas in Nepal
. Mehta and Keller
 also documented the same trend. Thus, the profile variables of the respondents recorded in this study did not influence the attitudes of the respondents in relation to the conservation of sea turtles in the region of Ilhéus.
More unfavorable attitudes towards the conservation of sea turtles were held by those fishermen who know more about their behavior and could best distinguish their habitat characteristics. It is expected that foraging and capture of turtles are easier for those fishermen who have a more enhanced level of knowledge about the resource. Bright and Tarrant
 reported that knowledge increases the ability to think, looking at all sides of the issue, but does not always influence the direction of the attitudes of an individual. In this case, the above knowledge about the rules of endangered species in the United States did not influence the perceptions and attitudes of students.
These unwritten social rules can be a way to conserve a resource. Fiallo and Jacobson
 found the same relationship between these two variables. Positive attitudes were exhibited by those with a higher level of education, perhaps because the access to the information acquired during their studies, access to different types of media and greater contact with educated people could help in better assimilating the importance and need for conservation of resources that are threatened with depletion. According to Sah and Heinen
, attitudes towards the conservation of a resource are influenced by educational level. However, there were some fishermen with low education levels who had positive attitudes towards the conservation of sea turtles. The fear of fines and punishments meted to those who violate environmental laws
 may help explain this finding. The attitudes of these fishermen may also be influenced by some kind local belief. Bright and Barro
 showed that beliefs can have influence over the attitudes of an individual in relation to natural resources in addition to just their knowledge.
Beliefs and taboos
Food taboos may be considered informal institutions that define and limit the use of resources by human communities in ecosystems, accounting for rules that are not instituted but somehow regulate human behavior
. In this study, the presence of food taboos can be considered a reason for the low consumption of sea turtles by fishermen of the macro-region of Ilhéus. These unwritten social rules can be a way to conserve a resource
[23, 70]. However, a decrease in adherence to traditional practices over time can cause a greater impact on some populations of animals and plants
The specific taboos that were identified by interviewing experts of the two fishing colonies of Ilhéus are similar to those reported in studies from the Atlantic Forest and the Amazon
[85, 86]. Decreases in the exploitation of wild species can be aided by specific taboos
. Dietary restrictions related to the appearance and taste of meat was considered more a means of avoiding the consumption of the animal. The reasons attributed to the taboos by the fishermen were the same as those given by other fishermen in coastal communities in the southeast
Exogenous taboos, in which laws are imposed on the population leading to a breakdown of the interaction between people and animals
, may in some cases assist in the conservation of a resource. Often, this kind of taboo cannot control all of the actions of the fishermen, as occurs in the fishing community of Ilhéus. The chelonians, especially sea turtles and turtles, are one of the most popular ingredients used in traditional medicine around the world
. In northeastern Brazil there are several records of the use of animals and plants in alternative therapies
In Bahia, turtles are known to be highly utilized in zootherapy and alternative medicine
 as well as in communities in the southeast of São Paulo
[85, 91] and in Rio Tocantins
. In the region of this study as well as in other traditional communities, turtle fat is used for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and arthritis
[85, 92]. On the north coast of Bahia as well as on the coast of Ilhéus in southern Bahia, fat is only used in this way when there is bycatch
Among the species of sea turtles that are recorded in Brazil, all are under some degree of threat
[3–7]. The use of bycatch in nets by traditional coastal communities is a major factor in the declining populations of turtles
In relation to fisheries, lobster and shrimp trawling should be adapted and restricted in certain ecosystems due to the high probability of turtle capture. Fishing colonies should always be involved in any change in fishing regulations, and participation in key decisions should be interactive. Despite the fact that this type of fishing is not considered a major contributor to the problem of bycatch worldwide, this type of fishing should still be constantly monitored due to its large magnitude and its ability to generate deep local environmental effects
Data acquired from local ecological knowledge can assist in strategies and programs for sustainable conservation and management policies
 and generate important discussions to strengthen the understanding of the resource under study
. The preservation of traditional practices such as sustainable food taboos, beliefs and customs is necessary. In relation to the sustainable use of resources in zootherapies, there must be a local analysis and a thorough observation of the possible implications of the practice, as well as a check for immediate needs to provide appropriate management measures as it relates to the conservation of the species
An individual with a higher knowledge rating did not have more positive attitudes towards turtles in our study. However, mitigation measures related to environmental education should not be discarded, but should be reviewed and explored in a more appropriate way. Recommendations are needed for effective communication strategies in cases where there is a propensity towards negative attitudes by fishermen with a greater degree of knowledge about the ecology of the animal. Even in the generally positive attitudes that prevail among the interviewed experts, there are still fishermen who occasionally use turtles which can be detrimental to the species, especially females who are more coastal and more likely to be predation.
Studies monitoring the nests, clutches and local ecological knowledge of sea turtles in southern Bahia are needed due to the scarcity of data in the existing scientific literature, especially for the leatherback and hawksbill turtles, which need urgent help because of their critical conservation status. Strategic conservation and mitigation measures must be developed and applied so that a significant portion of the existing diversity of turtles is not lost over the coming centuries
The involvement of the community in conservation activities and monitoring may, over the long term, contributes to increased knowledge and more favorable attitudes
. Promoting beliefs and taboos conducive to sea turtles conservation could foster positive attitudes and behavior.