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How Amazonians saved a 'Terminator' of the fish world

November 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The arapaima is a lean, mean, killing machine -- and a tasty one too. Pushed to the brink, canny management now means Brazilians can have their fish and eat it.

Today, fishing for arapaima is banned in Brazil unless within areas with community-based management agreements, explains João Campos-Silva, a Brazilian ecologist.

Focusing on the Juruá River and surrounding lakes in northern Brazil's Amazonas state, a program implemented by Institutio Juruá over a decade ago introduced an annual population census and calculates sustainable harvest quotas for each lake for the following year (no more than 30% of adult fish, per government guidelines).

After 11 years of management, he says there are more than 4,000 arapaima in the community's lakes.

Campos-Silva's research on lakes around the Juruá River across the same period found the arapaima population more than quadrupled.

He estimates there are now roughly 330,000 arapaima living in 1,358 lakes in 35 managed areas, with over 400 communities involved in managing them.

"Get organized. " Seu Preto says they should join a legal fishing program and begin sustainable harvesting.

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