Fishers’ knowledge on abundance and trophic interactions of the freshwater fish Plagioscion squamosissimus (Perciformes: Sciaenidae) in two Amazonian rivers
Abstract Small-scale fisheries provide income and food security to local peoples around the world. In the Brazilian Amazon, the pescada (Plagioscion squamosissimus) is among the fishes that contributes most to catches in small-scale fisheries. Our main goal was to evaluate the abundance, size, relevance to small-scale fisheries and trophic ecology of P. squamosissimus in the Tapajós and Tocantins rivers, in the Brazilian Amazon. We combined data from fishers’ local ecological knowledge (LEK) and fish sampling. We expected that fishers in the Tapajós River, less altered by anthropic changes, would cite a higher abundance, larger size and more prey and predators of P. squamosissimus. We interviewed 61 and 33 fishers and sampled fish in nine and five sites in the Tapajós and Tocantins rivers, respectively. The comparison between fishers’ citations and fish sampled indicated a higher relevance of P. squamosissimus to fishers in the Tapajós River, where this fish had an average larger size and where the fishers mentioned more food items. This pattern could be partially related to the history of anthropogenic changes in the Tocantins River. These results indicated that P. squamosissimus is a generalist fish, which could be resilient to fishing and environmental pressures.