Combining knowledge systems helps understand the spatial dynamics of data-limited small-scale fisheries systems in Brazil: A methods analysis
Mangrove habitats provide nursery, shelter, and feeding sites for many economically relevant fish, and invertebrates, such as crabs. Given the highly artisanal character and the patchy spatial distribution of small-scale fishing in mangroves, there is often little data available to inform management, potentially threatening the sustainability of this livelihood-supporting activity. This study assesses the combination of different data collection methods and of including published data in the analysis of the spatial dynamics. We examine crab fisheries in two sustainable-use protected areas as a case study to understand use patterns as indicated by a specific combination of mapping methods. Mangrove crab fishing grounds were mapped by overlaying crab gatherers’ tracked routes with maps produced during participatory-mapping-centered interviews. Information from the literature was used to spatialize crab carapace width and relate it to distance traveled by fishers. Results show that crabs tended to be larger if caught farther from the villages where fishers live. In terms of collection methods, even though GPS tracking is relatively time- and resource-consuming, incorporating some GPS tracking into participatory mapping helps overcome a downside of this type of mapping (e.g., lack of geographical precision) and identifies information that can be accessed through participatory techniques. This highlights the importance of linking different approaches in order to understand small-scale fisheries spatial dynamics.