top of page

An Environmental Education and Communication Project on Migratory Fishes and Fishing Communities


Sara Costa Carvalho, Heitor Oliveira Braga, Sofia de Santa-Maria, Beatriz Fonte, Mário Jorge Pereira, Antonio García-Vinuesa and Ulisses Miranda Azeiteiro


Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), Campus Universitário de Santiago | CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, Brasília | SEPA-Interea Research Group, Department of Educational Sciences, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela


This study aims at evaluating the environmental education (EE) and communication intervention for the valorization of migratory fish resources in an estuary of northern Portugal. The EE component intervention was implemented among Middle School pupils of that region. Students' knowledge was quantitatively evaluated with an experimental approach of pre-testing and post-testing, on the ocean and estuarine literacy (OEL) and biology of migratory species, such as sea lamprey. This study also analyzes the communication component developed via social media. Results of the EE component show an evident increment of OEL (p

FAO Citation

Carvalho, S.C., Braga, H.O., de Santa-Maria, S., Fonte, B., Pereira, M.J., García-Vinuesa, A. & Azeiteiro, U.M. 2021. An Environmental Education and Communication Project on Migratory Fishes and Fishing Communities. Educ. Sci. 11, 337.

Relevancy to curriculum

The study is aimed at investigating the impacts of a 2yr educational intervention regarding fish ecology and conservation at one middle & secondary school in an urban context of Minho River Estuary in Portugal, where some students are the children and/or grandchildren of local fishermen. Further analyzed is the communication component of the Cooperminho project—the use of Facebook and Instagram social media as sources of information to the public.

The intervention involved teaching students about the surrounding endogenous bioresources and conservation biology. Together with sharing from their parents and grandparents, Ocean & Estuarine Literacy (OEL) in the young was increased and promoted intergenerational bonds. The typology of pre-experiments—pre-test and post-test was used-- i.e., delivering a test before the educational intervention (a 45-min interactive lecture) and the same test after that intervention, in order to evaluate the impact of the lecture on local diadromous ecology.

A total of 156 students from the 8th grade were involved in the EE intervention. In the first year, they received 2 sessions of interactive lectures (one on migratory fish ecology and human pressures; the 2nd aimed to teach the students the Ethnobiology component of the Cooperminho project and developed with the local fishing community), and in the second year they went on 3 trips - a field trip to the Minho River, and a visit to the ECOMAR (University of Aveiro) and to the Aquamuseu do Rio Minho.

At the beginning of the project, 2 pages were created on Facebook and Instagram (- @cooperminho). The pages were intended to share and provide the local community of Vila Nova de Cerveira (students, fishermen, education professionals, and other local people) with Cooperminho activities and information on all the environmental education intervention processes developed in the region. Quantitative anonymous data from visits (followers’ likes and clicks) of social networks were exported


  • Statistical analysis of pre and post-test results showed the number of correct answers increases after the interventions.

  • Interacting with scientists seems to be a motive and helps in an understanding of ocean and estuarine ecosystems 

In the second session, the educator shared with the students the purpose of the pre-test and post-test. Students felt included and valued, as a crucial part of this study, since the educator had explained their role in the process, from the beginning, and that, in the second session, the results would be presented.

These interventions enhance the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that young people should have, at the end of the compulsory schooling, and areas such as environmental literacy, critical thinking, research, and information processing skills are referred to as a benchmark of the Ministry of Education

Concerning Environmental Education and interpretation on estuary literacy, the intervention of the scientific team had a significant impact due to the scholars’ knowledge related to riverine and estuarine ecology and migratory species. It was evident that interactive sessions with scientists motivate students to learn and to integrate their previous informal knowledge. Such integration and environmental interpretation experiences [47] promote the sense of place/river attachment and encourage the adoption of environmentally responsible behaviors in individuals [48]. The fact that the lecture’s subjects were focused on a particular setting and not part of a standardized school curriculum may have made the intervention more attractive to the students.

links to ssf guidelines chapters

    5. Governance of (5a.) Tenure in Small-Scale Fisheries & (5b.) Resource Management, 11. Information, Research & Communication

View & download literature source

bottom of page