It's time to think of a pact for mullet fishing
By Ademilson Zamboni
To a greater or lesser degree, mullet fishing summarizes the scenario of fisheries management in Brazil, which seems to be involved in a vicious cycle of mistrust between all parties - a bad companion for those who make political decisions, for those who oversee and monitor compliance with the rules , for those who have to plan to produce, and even for those who are trying to help. It's a “lose – lose” scenario.
As is well known, Brazil does not have an official and systematic program for collecting statistically reliable data on fishing. The sector does not transparently report its captures, either because the tools for this are not the most effective, or because the requirements are simply not met. As a result, our data never improves. Thus, scientists, when working with insufficient and low-quality information, produce studies and analyzes that are often questioned by the productive sector and, at the same time, are of little use for the construction of policies at the Executive level.
This level of uncertainty and the immediacy of decision-making are thus incompatible with the implementation of structural policies for national fisheries in the long term. The urgency, together with the poverty of information, and the interests and institutional pressures, means that we have, instead of a robust legal framework, only a patchwork of norms that can be broken at the first pull. But it is important to remember that this is not a problem born today.
In turn, entities such as the Public Ministry, in the exercise of their function, when faced with this situation, act with a view to reducing or preventing the damage caused by the disruption of this poorly sewn network. Fueled by mistrust – and by the little data and technical analysis available to them – these same entities see themselves as having to act, sometimes in the opposite direction to the rules built at the touch of a button.
As a result, the fishing industry, which claims to have prepared itself to act according to a certain rule, feels persecuted and harmed. Whoever defined it, in this case the government, ends up having to go back and forth along a path full of justifications, opinions, adjustments to norms, communications, etc. In short, a waste of time and energy for everyone – which could be avoided with more planning and dialogue.
In civil society, life is also not easy for organizations that work to ensure that environmental protection and sustainable fishing coexist harmoniously in time, space and politics. It is a very unfavorable condition for those who seek to act proactively, and with limited resources, are willing to collect and process technical data, and still demand transparency.
If moving through this issue requires a cautious opening of dialogue with different groups, it also means suffering - through ignorance, and often, bad faith - with attacks from those who say they are suspicious that there are other interests behind any cause defended by the third sector . A costume.
Purposely, I question in the title of this article about the need for a pact, agreement, term of adjustment of conduct, whatever. Apart from the word, the important thing is that the chosen path allows us to break this unproductive and harmful cycle, where public policy cannot protect the environment nor bring security to those who fish.
Finding the inflection point to resolve the impasses in mullet fishing is, therefore, an excellent exercise to look at national fisheries management more broadly. Only in this way will it be possible to overcome this hesitation scenario and promote the restoration of the oceans and fishing in sustainable bases in our country.