The relationship between the fishermen and the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in the Mexican central western Pacific: a narrative analysis

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Rosa María Chávez Dagostino
Ricardo Adrian Ojeda Adame https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9730-3283
Peter R. W. Gerritsen https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7542-0171
Sergio Aguilar Olguín https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5887-9511
Maria Cruz Rivera Rodríguez https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8198-4192
Luis Ignacio Iñiguez Dávalos https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9559-4950

Keywords

animal damage, conflict, crocodile, relationship, fisheries.

Resumen

Objective: To analyze the relationship between the fishermen of central western Mexico and the river crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus), emphasizing the resulting conflict.


Design/Methodology/Approach: The work was carried out with 22 fishermen from the Cuyutlán and Alcuzahue lagoons in Colima, Mexico. Four participative workshops were organized per community, in order to explore the positive and negative aspects of the relationship, the perception and knowledge about the ecosystem functions of the crocodile, and the management practices and actions associated with this relationship, as well as to determine the natural participants and factors that influence the said relationship. The workshops were recorded and the resulting data was subjected to a narrative analysis and a summary.


Results: Harmonious relationships are recorded, including the creation of bonds between humans and crocodiles and recognizing the benefits to fishing and the ecosystem function of the crocodile. The conflictive relationships identified were related to fishing, the reduction of fishing resources, and accidents. The strategies used to prevent conflicts are related to the dangerous zones, the behavior of the crocodiles, and the killing of the animals to reduce their presence. Additionally, compensation schemes, a collective management of fishing resources, and the replacement of fishing by the exploitation and capture of the crocodile were taken into consideration.


Study Limitations: Besides the fishermen’s, the point of view of other participants should be determined.


Conclusions: The relationship between fishermen and crocodiles is both harmonious and conflictive. On the one hand, both receive benefits; on the other hand, fishermen suffer economic, operative, and life style impacts, which create inauspicious scenarios for the conservation of the reptile.

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