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Contribution of local fishermen to improving knowledge of the marine ecosystem and resources in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa

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We assessed the quality of fishermen’s local ecological knowledge, or LEK, as a potential source of information about coastal ecosystem functioning in the Republic of Guinea. Interviews were conducted by means of partial immersion or repeated surveys at six landing sites. In each site and for each topic, discussions were conducted with 3 to 15 individual fishermen and 1 to 10 groups of fishermen. Knowledge was obtained about habitats, substrate preferences, the location of nurseries, reproductive cycles, fish diet, and the trophic network of the Sciaenid community, the major resource for fisheries in this area. We systematically compared the reliability of the information collected with that of scientific information collected in parallel surveys or published data. The contribution of LEK should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Indeed, LEK could be used as (i) a supplementary source of scientific studies (seabed description), (ii) a basis for new scientific investigation (species reproductive cycle), (iii) the only possibility to obtain information (nursery location), (iv) a surrogate to scientific surveys providing an identical level of validity (fish diets) or a satisfactory proxy (trophic network) in a context of limited resources and data in which wide-ranging knowledge relating to the entire coast must be obtained.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre National des Sciences Halieutiques de Boussoura (CNSHB), BP 3738/39, Conakry, Guinea Republic. 2: SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community), BP D5, 98848 Noumea CEDEX, New Caledonia.

Publication date: August 27, 2011

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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