Fishing communities are important stewards of their natural environment, particularly if they can make a living which is in harmony with the world on their doorstep.
Fish thrive in clean environments so this encourages good stewardship of that environment to sustain a long-term income from catching wild fish.
Project Piaba has studied the riverine fishing communities in the Rio Negro region of Brazil for more than 25 years.
These fishermen (called piaberos) and their families use hand-held nets to catch the colourful cardinal tetra and discus fish, which are plentiful when the forest floods every year.
These fish will die as the water recedes.
These tiny freshwater fish used to contribute 65% of the Barcelos economy and, in its heyday, the trade employed at least a thousand families directly – not counting supporting industries
But the trade is declining which could have dire consequences for the community and the Amazon rainforest.
Dilys Roe Chair of IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group.
“The theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day - Sustaining All Life on Earth – serves as a timely reminder that sustainable use is one of the three pillars of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, alongside conservation and equitable benefit sharing.
"Sometimes - particularly when we hear about species under threat of extinction and ecosystems on the brink of collapse – it is easy to think that the most important action we can take is to protect wildlife from humans.
"More often than not, it is the sustainable use of species by humans that can be key to their long term conservation."
Dominic Whitmee & Ian Watson