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Table 4 An application of the models of social–ecological systems (SES) to the Paraty fishery

From: The paraty artisanal fishery (southeastern Brazilian coast): ethnoecology and management of a social-ecological system (SES)

  Social, Economic, and Political Settings (S)
S1- Economic development The fishermen from Paraty are rural inhabitants who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods and are part of the Caiçara culture, which includes rural inhabitants of the SE Atlantic Forest coast. Historically, they have been included in the regional and national economic context, shifting their economic activities from small-scale agriculture to fishing and tourism.
S2- Demographic trends Caiçaras are indigenous rural inhabitants who are descendants of Native Indians and Portuguese colonizers. Local populations of Caiçaras have not increased demographically because of outmigration. Nevertheless, the coastal population that is not related to the Caiçaras has increased due to migration from cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (tourists and other people linked to services associated with tourism and the environment).
S3- Political stability The local or regional political stability accompanies the political context of the country, which is relatively stable.
S4- Government settlement policies There are conflicts between local inhabitants, the Caiçaras, and the government representatives connected with the protected areas (parks, ecological stations, etc.). These protected areas interfere with the use of resources by the Caiçaras because laws regarding the protection of the environment have forbidden the cultivation of manioc and the production of manioc flour, a basic local staple. Restrictions on fishing in certain areas, particularly on islands, have caused prejudice toward fishermen. Some protected areas more directly affect the fishermen in Paraty, such as Parque Nacional da Bocaina, Estação Ecologica Tamoios, and Área de Proteção Ambiental de Cairuçú.
S5- Market incentives There are programs related to credit for fishing as well as tourism-related activities that increase a fisherman´s earnings. Currently, we have proposed incentives in the form of payments for environmental services (PES) for managing the fisheries in Paraty. Such PES could provide fishermen with a payment to encourage them to help monitor the protected areas and preserve stocks, similar to the defeso system (for details, there is a specific study on PES in Paraty [25]).
S6- Media organization There is no organized information on media information, but the area receives tourism and media incentives. For example, the FLIP, an international literature meeting that is advertised worldwide, is held annually in Paraty; in addition, Paraty aims to become an UNESCO Patrimony.
  Resource System (RS)
RS1- Sector Fish
RS2- Clarity of system boundaries There are some mechanisms for the informal division of fishing spots in fishing areas among the coastal communities of Caiçaras, as well as high-level conflicts with intruders from the industrial fisheries in Paraty bay. Boundaries are certainly a very important feature of the resource, and observed boundaries include the boundaries of protected areas as well as those based on the local rules settled by the fishermen, who tend to use spots closer to each of their own communities.
RS3- Size of resource system The size is evaluated based on production from fish catches. In this study, we estimate that artisanal fishing in Paraty, from two landing points, produces an average of 30–60 kg per trip and an annual production of 529,586.40 kg.
RS4- Human-constructed facilities There are local fish stores, markets, restaurants, first-level schools in many communities (there is a high school in the city of Paraty), and a hospital. The local fish market commercializes the resource internally and externally, selling the fish to markets in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
RS5- Productivity of the system Based on the fishermen’s perception (interviews), fish productivity appears to be decreasing for some species; sand drum, shrimp, snook, weakfish, and mullet were frequently mentioned in the interviews.
RS6- Equilibrium properties Equilibrium properties are more difficult to evaluate in unpredictable systems, and a fishery such as Paraty is an uncertain system in which species occur seasonally and there are fluctuations in daily and annual production (see the Additional file 1).
RS7- Predictability of system dynamics Very unpredictable, high variance in production, which can be observed in the Additional file 1 of this study as well as in the literature [33].
S8- Storage characteristics There are fish stores and markets with ice and freezers; however, there are also small-scale fishing communities in Paraty with no electricity except for local power generators or solar energy that function precariously (such as Ponta Grossa and Praia do Sono). Thus, the fish storage capacity varies among the fishing communities, affecting the flow of the local fish market.
RS9- Location High biodiversity tropical areas and areas of fragile domains, such as the Atlantic Forest coast.
  Governance System (GS)
GS1- Government organizations In particular, the protected environmental areas created by government.
GS2- Non-government organizations Associations and colônias (Colônias de Pescadores).
GS3- Network structure Fragile, without strong communication channels (compared with the Amazon and with the organization of the fishermen from the neighboring community, Sepetiba Bay).
GS4- Property-rights systems There are systems of informal division of fishing spots among the small-scale communities on the coast, including the fishing communities of Paraty. Nevertheless, property-rights systems in Paraty are incipient and informal because the fishing areas used are close to each of the communities; the fishing spots used in the catches we sampled at landing points confirm such properties. The informal division of fishing areas of small-scale fishermen are not recognized or respected by the industrial fishermen who enter Paraty Bay . Moreover, environmental governmental agencies, forbid artisanal fishers to use spots or to anchor their canoes or boats in islands from protected areas..
GS5- Operational rules Informal acceptance among the artisanal fishing communities of the fishing areas, but no recognition of local rules by other users (industrial fishermen) or by the government (protected areas).
GS6- Collective-choice rules Fishing agreements, payments for environmental services, the defeso system: these are mechanisms that occur in Brazil among fishing communities but not specifically in Paraty (except for the defeso, which is mandated by law).
GS7- Constitutional rules Locally non-observed, only incipient; formally, the defeso from the government (law).
GS8- Monitoring and sanctioning processes These processes are observed, particularly regarding the use of the fishing spots in islands by fishermen when conflicts occur between them and the government agencies.
  Resource Units (RU)
RU1- Resource unit mobility Very mobile, but mobility varies among species; some species, such as the cavala (king mackerel), are pelagic and very mobile compared to reef species (groupers and snappers) and invertebrates (shrimp).
RU2- Growth or replacement rate Variable because some species have very slow maturation, such as groupers.
RU3- Interaction among resource units Very interactive, a reasonably strong local knowledge on target species.
RU4- Economic value The economic value of fish and other aquatic organisms is very high because livelihoods depend on these resources. Tourism has been increasing in value for local fishermen, particularly in the summer.
RU5- Size Not estimated, uncertain and highly variable (there are no baseline data that permit an evaluation of stocks of species caught by artisanal fisheries in Paraty (or in Brazil in general).
RU6- Distinctive markings Fishermen identify their catches with distinctive markings. At landing points, fish are often marked to discriminate the catch for commercialization.
RU7- Spatial & temporal distribution Marine organisms are distributed spatially in patches (fish schools, islands with reef fish) and temporally (periods when fish schools pass, periods of growth and reproduction)
  Users (U)
U1- Number of users Estimate of the number of artisanal fishers: 485 [35]. The number interviewed in Paraty is 206 artisanal or small-scale fishermen. Other related users are the associations of fishermen and tourists.
U2- Socioeconomic attributes of users Variable among communities because some communities are more isolated than others. Therefore, some communities have higher rates of illiteracy than others, and some are more urban than others. For example, Ponta Grossa in Paraty has a 22% illiteracy rate, compared to 11% in Praia Grande and 5% in Tarituba [35].
U3- History of use Historically, the inhabitants of the Atlantic Forest coast participated in the economic cycles of the region, such as the production of rum from sugar cane. After the decline of this economic activity, local livelihoods depended on small-scale agriculture, particularly the cultivation of manioc and the production of manioc flour, as well as part-time fishing. Agricultural prices declined in the 1950s, and artisanal fishing became the principal economic activity. Currently, both tourism and fishing are part of the economy of these small-scale fishing communities of the Brazilian coast. Local fishermen have thus been associated with tourism, particularly in the summer and during holidays, when they use their boats for tourism activities.
U4- Location Coastal tropical area in the southern Atlantic, Brazil.
U5- Leadership/entrepreneurship Weak, compared to Amazonian artisanal fisheries and other coastal communities on the Atlantic coast.
U6- Norms/social capital Local knowledge is relatively strong and used for fishing, but pressures from protected areas and industrial fisheries, for example, weaken local enterprises.
U7- Knowledge of SES/mental models Local ecological knowledge exists and forms an important category of knowledge for fishery management. This study demonstrates how the two systems of knowledge complement each other and suggests that, in some circumstances, local knowledge could facilitate fishery monitoring.
U8- Dependence on resource Very high.
U9- Technology used Varies from low fishing effort technologies such as hook and lines and set gillnets to other technologies that require increased effort, such as small trawlers used to catch shrimp and the “cerco do robalo”, a method used in the community of Tarituba, among other local communities, to capture snook with dubious ecological soundness but with good economic returns.
  Interactions (I) Outcomes (O)
I1- Harvesting levels of diverse users Artisanal fisheries conflict with industrial fishermen that enter the bay. Artisanal fishermen in Paraty also use a diverse array of techniques to fish. A solution to manage the fishery at Paraty is to separate users and fishing technologies and utilize different approaches for each with respect to management necessities and intentions. Certainly, the exclusion of industrial fishermen from Paraty bay is necessary and required by coastal legislation, which is not followed as it should be, causing conflicts between small-scale and industrial fishermen [25].
I2- Information sharing among users Still weak compared to other fishing areas of the coast and Amazonian fisheries; it can be strengthened by cooperation with other organized fishermen, such as those from Ilha Grande and Sepetiba Bay.
I3- Deliberation processes Non-explicit, variable, data not organized or inaccessible.
I4- Conflicts among users High conflict between artisanal and industrial fishermen and between artisanal fishermen and environmental governmental agencies. Industrial fisheries enter fishing spots and the bay, causing conflicts over the use of the aquatic space.
I5- Investment activities A very tourism-heavy area in which investments occur. International meetings are held in Paraty, such as the International literary meeting (the FLIP), as well as other tourism-associated investments. There is international tourism year-round in Paraty.
I6- Lobbying activities Data not available or not systematically organized or accessible.
O1- Social performance measures Efficiency (a measure of economic returns in catches) and equity (a measure of social distribution) are important aspects to follow in Paraty fisheries, and it is possible to address these variables for future suggestions for fishery management.
O2- Ecological performance measures Catch diversity is an important measure that can be addressed, as shown in this study. We observed more than 50 organisms in fish catches, as shown in the Additional file 1 of this study. The high diversity of small-scale or artisanal fishermen is a source of resilience because there can be some substitutability of target species. Resilience could also be addressed through other variables, such as a) economic returns of catches; b) perceptions of fishermen on the abundance of the resource; c) management rules in fishing, particularly for reef fishing; and d) substitutability of activities, taking into consideration that tourism is an economic alternative.
O3- Externalities to other SESs In this case, externalities from the fishery system affect the conservation of biodiversity (in protected areas). Protected areas include externalities that affect the Paraty fishery and the fishermen’s earnings.
  Related Ecosystems (ECO)
ECO1- Climate patterns Tropical climate, with a rainy season (summer) and a dry season (winter).
ECO2- Pollution patterns The Paraty coast, in particular, receives organic discharges from domestic sewage. Paraty bay t is located adjacent to the two nuclear power plants in Brazil, as well as to Sepetiba bay, a highly contaminated bay that received industrial discharges, which are polluted with heavy metals and sewage. At Paraty, there are several small harbors, particularly for tourists (marinas), and shipyards.
ECO3- Flows into and out of the focal SES Connection through different scales and tiers with sets of variables permits the interconnection of Paraty fisheries with the Caiçara system and culture as well as with the economic and ecological systems of the region The SES model is a mechanism by which data and variables can be linked into a more general system. In that regard, a trade-off analysis that considers the drivers for biodiversity conservation (that affects fishermen and tourists) and the economic temptation of the fishermen to increase catches and earnings can be visualized through the variables shown in this table. Through the SES model, the frontiers or thresholds in the decision-making processes of fishermen can be associated with different tiers, including an infra tier of when to fish a target species through a supra tier, such as the Caiçara system and its ecological-economic constraints. Figure 7 illustrates this analysis, and the links among tiers. SES could also be useful for understanding temporal shifts and flows: for example, the history of the use of the resource shows how economic pressure through price changes moved the Caiçaras from agriculture (and part-time fishermen) to full-time fishermen. Currently, tourism plays an important role by pushing fishermen to allocate time to this activity, thus causing some fishermen to assume a part-time role in a small-scale fishery.
  1. Data are based on the current study and on studies conducted on the northern coast of São Paulo and on the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro [24, 25, 53, 55].