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University of Connecticut

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation

Abstract

The artisanal fishery based out of Pedregal, on the Pacific Coast of Panama in the Chiriqui Province was studied to analyze the biodiversity and community structure of the icthyofaunal population and investigate the practices and opinions of the fishermen there. The study area is located in the Gulf of Chiriqui, and is heavily influenced by freshwater runoff from anthropogenically influenced rivers during. This is especially relevant during the rainy season. During two weeks in November, at the end of the rainy season, fishermen from one port in Pedregal were accompanied for the purposes of data collection and interviewing. The data collected on the fish community were analyzed in terms of biodiversity measurements including Shannon’s Index of Community Diversity and Simpson’s Reciprocal Index of Community Diversity as well as species and family richness and family composition, evenness and length frequency. This data for a cross-section in time can provide basic data about the icthyofauna of the community and comments on the possible health of the ecosystem studied. Additionally, investigating these measurements over a variety of habitat types can add to the dearth of knowledge of species-habitat interactions in mangrove habitats. The fishermen that made this study possible depend on this fish community for their livelihood and culture. Their long-term understanding of the area is a source of knowledge that should be recorded as well. For these reasons, understanding their methods and opinions will help to preserve the biodiversity of the region and its unique culture. The results of this study showed that the artisanal fishery of this region does include a diverse and dynamic fish community inhabiting a variety of habitat types. The fishermen are informed on the trends of the fish populations and practice their work on a small-scale. However, competition and possible habitat degradation due to a variety of environmental Carey 6 issues could currently pose a threat to the fish community that supports the artisanal fisheries of Pedregal.

Disciplines

Aquaculture and Fisheries | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Natural Resources and Conservation

 

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