Master’s Thesis Proposal Defense - Laura Castro Diaz - April 11

Date: April 11, 2016
Time: 10 AM
Location: Natural Resources RM 130

The impacts on fishers and their livelihoods generated by the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Vila Belo Monte

Master’s Thesis Proposal Defense


Laura Castro Diaz

Monday, April 11, 2016

10 a.m.

Room 130, Natural Resources Building



The Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam is located in the Brazilian Amazon, and is the third largest dam in the world. It has been constructed over the last five years and it is supposed to start its turbines in April 2016. Its construction has caused many social, economic and environmental impacts to local populations and the environment. One of the groups most affected by the construction of the dam are downstream fishing communities that rely on fish as the main source for their livelihood. In the Brazilian Amazon fish is the main source of protein and fishing, which is commonly only an activity carried out by males, is one of the main socio-economic activities.

Vila Belo Monte is a downstream community with characteristics that merit attention: fishing appears to be done there both by women and men. This situation is very unusual for the Amazon basin since women were traditionally banned from fishing activities. This provides a unique opportunity to understand the underlying causes for this change and how it may be related to the dam’s impacts. This research aims to (1) analyze the impact of the dam on fishers and their livelihoods and (2) understand the transformations in fishers’ behaviors by gender. We will conduct in-depth interviews, participatory rural appraisal and observation of fishing trips to provide insights into how local communities fishing behavior are affected by hydropower projects and how their lives are transformed. The results from this research will inform academic debates, policy makers and NGOs active in trying to mitigate the impacts of the dam on the lives of local people.


Committee Members

  • Dr. Maria Claudia Lopez, Chairperson
  • Dr. Kimberly Chung
  • Dr. Emilio Moran