The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul approves legislation to ban harmful fishing practices, protecting marine ecosystems allowing an increase in productivity, and ensuring the future of fishing. Signed into law by Governor José Ivo Sartori, the State Policy for Sustainable Development of Fishing was built by fishers with Oceana’s support.
The new law is an important step on the way for other public policies promoting sustainable fishing to be debated, proposed, and passed in other states as well as at federal level. The measures include taking bottom trawling out of Brazil’s territorial sea – a 12-nautical-mile-wide area extending along the entire coast of the state, with about 13,000 sq km.
Fishers believes that the passing of the fishing regulation will greatly improve fishing in Rio Grande do Sul, which used to be one of the most important states in Brazil’s fishing industry. According to the presidents of the state’s fishing community associations, the industry is facing collapse: damaging fishing practices have caused reduction in several species and more than 90% of the state’s fish industries have closed their doors in the past 30 years.
The law signed yesterday was built with the participation of representatives of all fisher community associations in the state, fishing vessel owners and the support of the NGO Oceana. That included over six months of data analyses that resulted in the document aimed at changing the reality of fishing in southern Brazil.
“Brazil celebrates a major victory to protect an extremely important area for fishing in the country. Rio Grande do Sul’s sustainable fishing policy is an example of how fishing and the environment can go together”, says Oceana vice-president in Brazil and oceanographer Ademilson Zamboni.