'Is the fishing industry going to stop?' ask shrimp fishermen

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“How will the fishing industry be? Will stop?". The question is from the vice president of the Fishermen's Union of Espírito Santo (Sindpesmes), Braz Clarindo Filho, and refers to the mandatory installation of PREPS - equipment provided for in the National Program for Tracking Fishing Vessels by Satellite - whose legal deadline expires in next September 11th.

The equipment costs almost R$4,000 to purchase, plus R$250 to R$280 monthly for maintenance. "We don't have this money", says the unionist, who recalls the precarious situation of the category, especially among shrimp farmers in Espírito Santo, whose coast was tragically affected by the crime of Samarco/Vale-BHP, with the region of Foz do Rio being more impacted. Doce, the main shrimp fishing spot in the state.

A request for a one-year extension of the deadline was made in June. “It's at Conjur [Legal Consultancy of the Attorney General's Office]. It's stopped”, complains Braz. “The Ministry of the Environment makes regulations there in Brasília and sticks it down our throats”, protests the union leader.

A new request was made last Friday (23) to the Espirito Santo Superintendence of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and to the Superintendence of Fisheries in the State, whose responsible, Diego Libardi and Aureliano Costa, promised a diligence until the federal capital, to try to unlock the process. “The deadline will expire on the 11th and IBAMA will certainly monitor it”, worries Braz.

The equipment is mandatory for all vessels over 15 meters in size. “It will reach 16 thousand fishermen directly. There are a total of 60,000 families, including fishmongers, stevedores, restaurant staff, who produce net material...”, he says.

seven-beard shrimp

Another lawsuit in progress by shrimp farmers is the adjustment of Interministerial Ordinance No. 47, of August 11, 2018, which establishes the regionalization of shrimp conservation, a request by the fishermen themselves, to prevent boats from outside Espírito Santo from fishing in Espírito Santo waters when are prohibited from working due to the defence of their states.

The problem, reports the vice president of Sindpesmes, is that the ordinance allows a very small percentage for fishing for other species of shrimp, in trawls aimed at seven-barbs, of only 5%.

"We are working outside of twenty meters", he says, referring to the court order that prohibits fishing in areas with a depth of less than twenty meters, where contamination by ore tailings from Samarco/Vale-BHP is greater and brings serious health risks.

At greater depths, however, “the species mix”, says Braz. “It coincides with the area where the three shrimp mix: the seven-beards, the pink and the white”. “We are managing to survive because we get more roses and white than seven beards”, he admits.

The request is that the percentage of pink and white be increased to at least 50%. “Or copy the ordinance of the North and Northeast, which does not set a percentage for each species”, he asks.

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