Transboundary fisheries management in the Amazon: assessing current policies for the management of the ornamental silver arawana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum).

The management and governance of shared stocks have long been identified as a challenge to achieve long-term sustainability in fisheries. This is the situation of fisheries in the Amazon basin, a region shared by nine countries. This paper provides an overview of the social-ecological outcomes and management implications of sharing fish stocks among countries with different public policies, taking the valuable Amazonian ornamental silver arawana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) trade as a case study. Specifically, it (i) presents and discusses the policies of Colombia, Peru and Brazil for the silver arawana fishery, and how these are conducive for the successful management of this shared transboundary fishery; and (ii) analyzes the market for the ornamental silver arawana and how it affects the ability to sustainably manage the fishery. The interplay between the multiple environmental, economic and social dimensions involved in the ornamental silver arawana fishery affects the sustainability of this species even in Brazil, where this fishing is forbidden but still illegally caught by Colombians and Peruvians. Among the factors that make fisheries policies inefficient in this region are: (i) incongruent policies between the countries and institutions with low organizational capacity to accomplish the established policies; (ii) environmental heterogeneity of Amazonian aquatic systems, which requires local and adaptive measures; and (iii) complex socio-economic relationships in the live-fish trade business. Legally binding efforts to reduce problems derived from shared fish stocks are an urgent need and should be addressed by the multilateral organizations created for the Amazonian sustainable development.