State Law 15.223/2018 comes into force on October 21 in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It establishes the State Policy for Sustainable Fisheries Development, which was built by small-scale fishers and shipowners with Oceana’s support. The Law empowers the state to curb harmful fishing practices, protect marine ecosystems, increase productivity, and guarantee the future of fishing.
“With this law in force, we now face the challenges of implementing and enforcing it, and government commitment, pressure from society, and the fishing industry’s effort will be crucial in the process”, says oceanographer Ademilson Zamboni, Vice President of Oceana in Brazil.
The fishing industry believes that the law will improve the activity in Rio Grande do Sul, which used to be one of Brazil’s most important fishing states. According to the presidents of the state’s fishing community associations, the industry is under risk of collapse: harmful 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.
In early October, the Working Group that proposed the legislation met in the city of Rio Grande to discuss the participatory construction of the decree that regulates the law. The main organizations involved with the state’s and the country’s fishing agenda attended the meeting, which also defined actions and the responsibility matrix for implementing and enforcing the law.
“This legal framework opens room for other public policies to be debated, presented and voted in other states, as well as at federal level, in order to promote sustainable fishing”, Zamboni says.