MacKenzie, Jr., Clyde L. (2001) The Fisheries for Mangrove Cockles,Anadaraspp., from Mexico to Peru, With Descriptions of Their Habitats and Biology, the Fishermen’s Lives, and the Effects of Shrimp Farming. Marine Fisheries Review, 63(1), pp. 1-39.
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This paper provides the first description of the mangrove cockle, Anadara spp., fisheries throughout their Latin American range along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Peru. Two species, A. tuberculosa and A. grandis, are found over the entire range, while A. similis occurs from El Salvador to Peru. Anadara tuberculosa is by far the most abundant, while A. grandis has declined in abundance during recent decades. Anadara tuberculosa and A. similis occur in level mud sediments in mangrove swamps, comprised mostly of Rhizophora mangle, which line the main-lands and islands of lagoons, whereas A. grandis inhabits intertidal mud flats along the edges of the same mangrove swamps. All harvested cockles are sexually mature. Gametogenesis of the three species occurs year round, and juvenile cockles grow rap-idly. Cockle densities at sizes at least 16–42 mm long ranged from 7 to 24/m2 in Mexico. Macrofaunal associates of cockles include crustaceans, gastropods, and finfishes. The mangrove swamps are in nearly pristine condition in every country except Honduras, Ecuador, and Peru, where shrimp farms constructed in the 1980’s and 1990’s have destroyed some mangrove zones. In addition, Hurricane Mitch destroyed some Honduran mangrove swamps in 1998. About 15,000 fishermen, including men, women, and children, harvest the cockles. Ecuador has the largest tabulated number of fishermen, 5,055, while Peru has the fewest, 75. Colombia has a large number, perhaps exceeding that in Ecuador, but a detailed census of them has never been made. The fishermen are poor and live a meager existence; they do not earn sufficient money to purchase adequate food to allow their full health and growth potential. They travel almost daily from their villages to the harvesting areas in wooden canoes and fiberglass boats at low tide when they can walk into the mangrove swamps to harvest cockles for about 4 h. Harvest rates, which vary among countries owing to differences in cockle abundances, range from about 50 cockles/fisherman/day in El Salvador and Honduras to 500–1,000/ fisherman/day in Mexico. The fishermen return to their villages and sell the cockles to dealers, who sell them mainly whole to market outlets within their countries, but there is some exporting to adjacent countries. An important food in most countries, the cockles are eaten in seviche, raw on the half-shell, and cooked with rice. The cockles are under heavy harvesting pressure, except in Mexico, but stocks are not yet being depleted because they are harvested at sizes which have already spawned. Also some spawning stocks lie within dense mangrove stands which the fishermen cannot reach. Consumers fortunately desire the largest cockles, spurning the smallest. Cockles are important to the people, and efforts to reduce the harvests to prevent overfishing would lead to severe economic suffering in the fishing communities. Pro-grams to conserve and improve cockle habitats may be the most judicious actions to take. Preserving the mangrove swamps intact, increasing their sizes where possible, and controlling cockle predators would lead to an increase in cockle abundance and harvests. Fishes that prey on juvenile cockles might be seined along the edges of swamps before the tide rises and they swim into the swamps to feed. Transplanting mangrove seedlings to suitable areas might increase the size of those habitats. The numbers of fishermen may increase in the future, because most adults now have several children. If new fishermen are tempted to harvest small, immature cockles and stocks are not increased, minimum size rules for harvestable cockles could be implemented and enforced to ensure adequate spawning.
|Title:||The Fisheries for Mangrove Cockles,Anadaraspp., from Mexico to Peru, With Descriptions of Their Habitats and Biology, the Fishermen’s Lives, and the Effects of Shrimp Farming|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Marine Fisheries Review|
|Page Range:||pp. 1-39|
|Issuing Agency:||United States National Marine Fisheries Service|
|Depositing User:||Patti M. Marraro|
|Date Deposited:||16 Aug 2012 14:34|
|Last Modified:||16 Aug 2012 14:34|
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