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Article

Fishing with Pesticides Affects River Fisheries and Community Health in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua

1
Global Wildlife Conservation, Austin, TX 78746, USA
2
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
3
Instituto de Recursos Naturales, Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible (IREMADES), Universidad de las Regiones Autónomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaragüense (URACCAN), Bluefields 81000, Nicaragua
4
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
5
Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48825, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10152; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310152
Received: 13 October 2020 / Revised: 30 November 2020 / Accepted: 30 November 2020 / Published: 4 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation)
The practice of harvesting fish and crustaceans by using pesticides is understudied and under-reported in tropical inland fisheries yet poses a significant threat to freshwater biodiversity and community health. This research provides a brief review of the practice and an in-depth case study from southeast Nicaragua. In 2019, 86 interviews and 5 focus groups were conducted in remote communities in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve (IMBR) and nearby surrounding area and combined with 4 years of local Indigenous Rama and Afrodescendent Kriol community forest ranger data. Forest rangers and 74% of interviewees reported that fishing with pesticides occurs in their communities, including both inside the IMBR and in the nearby surrounding area. The practice is primarily used by illegal settlers, and not by Rama and Kriol communities who have rights to the land in the IMBR. It entails the release of liquid pesticides in water or mixing powdered pesticides with corn flour and using the mixture as bait. Of seven chemicals reported, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, and Aluminum Phosphide were most common. The use of ichthyotoxic woody plants was more rarely reported. Habitats targeted ranged from swift headwaters to slow pools in small creeks to larger rivers, depending on target species. Main uses reported for the catch were food for family, bait to catch larger fish, and for sale. The main motivation was increased catch efficiency. Many interviewees attributed stomach issues, diarrhea, cough, convulsions, and miscarriage to exposure to poisoned river water. Twenty-five interviewees blamed poisoned rivers for livestock miscarriages or death. Severe local losses of fish and shrimp populations were reported. Rama and Kriol interviewees describe the practice as a threat to their river-based food security. Despite its illegality, no study participant knew a case of pesticide fishing that had been prosecuted. This destructive fishing practice has significant implications for conservation of the intact river systems of the primary rainforests of southeast Nicaragua, and to the local traditional fisheries they support. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal; disturbance; invertebrates; fish; fishing; pesticide; pollution; protected areas; stream; toxicity coastal; disturbance; invertebrates; fish; fishing; pesticide; pollution; protected areas; stream; toxicity
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    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWtisdZkuPQ&feature=youtu.be
    Description: Multimedia S4. An educational video that was developed in light of this research. It was disseminated throughout the country on social media and shown at various presentations with community members. It demonstrates that fishing with pesticides is harmful to people, livestock, wildlife, fisheries, and river organisms, and that it is illegal and amoral. Designed by Waiku Centro de Arte y Diseño and Comunicaciones Sanles Alemán.
MDPI and ACS Style

Betts, J.T.; Mendoza Espinoza, J.F.; Dans, A.J.; Jordan, C.A.; Mayer, J.L.; Urquhart, G.R. Fishing with Pesticides Affects River Fisheries and Community Health in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10152. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310152

AMA Style

Betts JT, Mendoza Espinoza JF, Dans AJ, Jordan CA, Mayer JL, Urquhart GR. Fishing with Pesticides Affects River Fisheries and Community Health in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua. Sustainability. 2020; 12(23):10152. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310152

Chicago/Turabian Style

Betts, Joel T., Juan F. Mendoza Espinoza, Armando J. Dans, Christopher A. Jordan, Joshua L. Mayer, and Gerald R. Urquhart 2020. "Fishing with Pesticides Affects River Fisheries and Community Health in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua" Sustainability 12, no. 23: 10152. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310152

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