Brazil’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministry is planning to invest the equivalent of 17 million US dollars in optimising fisheries patrolling during 2010.
Minister of Fisheries Altemir Gregolin informed that in 2009 four new vessels had been incorporated to patrolling waters of the states of Santa Catarina, Rio Grande del Sur, Ceara and Para and another 23 units should be incorporated over the coming months. Of the 23 units, 9 are being built and the remaining 15 will be purchased.
Altemir Gregolin said that the increased fisheries patrolling is another phase of fisheries management strengthening in Brazil, the high point of which was last year when the Special Secretariat of Aquaculture and Fisheries was made a ministry. In 2009, a new Fishing Law was promulgated, replacing one dating back to 1967.
Gregolin pointed out that the seafood sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Brazil including traditional fishing and aquaculture, totals 2.66 billion USD annually. Fisheries catches in Brazil are over a million tons and the sector, much of it still coastal and artisan employs 3.5 million people.
The fisheries Minister estimates that the seafood sector has a production potential of close to 20 million tons annually, but as fisheries patrolling and management is still lacking, major investments are still needed in infrastructure, such as fishing terminals and freezing plants.
”We must monitor the situation closely; we can’t be careless. Should that happen, our natural resources would simply be exhausted” Gregolin warned in an interview with Revista Portos e Navios.
He also stressed that good results are often obtained from simple measures, citing the example of the sardine. In the 70s, annual sardine catches in Brazil totalled 220,000 tons but they dropped dramatically to 17.000 tonnes because of poor patrolling.
But in 2003, the Fisheries Secretariat, the Environment Ministry and the Brazilian Environment and Renewable Natural Resources Institute joined forces, extending the ban period from four to six months, which led to quick signs of recovery. Last year, sardine catches in Brazil totalled 100.000 tons. (FIS/MP).-