Volume 65

Pursuing Sustainability for the Brazilian Lobster, Panulirus argus, Fishery from the Bottom-up

Schärer, R. and M. Schärer-Umpierre
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Date: November, 2012

Pages: 485 - 488

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty-Fifth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Santa Marta

Country: Colombia


The Brazilian lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery, exploited since the 1950's, has generated anual exports ranging from US$ 59 to 92 million, most of which is directed to the US. Approximately 15,000 artisanal fishers, many of which are 'jangadeiros', depend directly on this resource for their livelihoods; therefore the sustainability of the fishery is imperative for social development, food security, poverty alleviation and economic stability in coastal regions of northeastern Brazil. However in the past decades the landings, catch per unit effort and size of lobsters has declined precipitously despite fisheries management regulations such as limited licensing, size limits, gear restrictions and ever expanding seasonal bans, which are accompanied by fisher's unemployment compensation. Some of the problems affecting the fishery include: overcapitalization, destructive fishing (hookah, gillnets), capture of berried and juvenile individuals, impact to habitat (steel drum 'casitas'), ineffective enforcement, lack of control of origin and insufficient scientific data (biological and socio-economic) for management decisions. Various bottom-up approaches have been developed to see this trend reversed including: local participation in fisheries management, networking, outreach and education to follow the FAO Code of Responsible Fishing, certification of lobster products, MPA establishment and marketbased tools. The latest efforts are encompassed in a sustainable fisheries partnership that seeks to develop agreements with all stakeholders to implement best management practices. Although previous MSC certification failed this time certification of origin, under the Bureau Veritas “Recognition of Responsible Fishing” scheme is sought.

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