The communities of Conta and San Jose have developed a plan to sustainably manage fish in Lake Pernambuco. The management plan is the first of its kind among the 24 indigenous communities located on the Purús River outside of the Alto Purús National Park and Communal Reserve. Community members assisted expert consultants to study the lake’s water quality, the abundance and diversity of fish, and the impacts of fishing. Results were analyzed to develop specific recommendations for protecting endangered species and for utilizing abundant species for subsistence and to sell as a source of income. Income opportunities are very limited in this remote region.
The lake harbors an impressive array of fish including the exceedingly rare Arapaima (Arapaima gigas), among the world’s largest freshwater fish which has been overfished and extirpated from most of the Amazon basin. The lake’s management plan is part of a new collaborative effort among indigenous communities, non-indigenous farmers, and Peru’s park service to protect the La Novia river, a tributary of the Purús, from unsustainable and illegal fishing, hunting, and logging. Members of the new “La Novia Conservation Alliance” include the Conta and San Jose communities, the Purús Communal Reserve, the Mabosinfron Conservation Concession, and UAC’s sister organization, ProPurús. Funding is provided by a grant to UAC from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Wildlife Without Borders program.