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University of Vermont

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Brazil: Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology


Since the commercialization of the amazonian fishery in the early 1970´s there have been major problems with enforcement of minimum capture length laws and regulations. It has been well documented with species such as tambaqui (Collosum macroponum) and mapara (Hypopthalamus edentates) that juveniles and pre-adults are being targeted by fishermen. This has led to a situation where most of the individuals present in fish markets are undersized and illegal according to IBAMA regulations. The majority of the research done on undersized illegal market fish has focused on markets in Manaus, Tefé and Santarem. This study seeks to find out if there are illegal fish being sold in the public Ver-O-Peso fish market in Belém, Para. Seven commercially important species were chosen, 4 from the siluriformes order and 3 from the sciaenidae family. The species were filhote (Brachyplatystoma filamentosum), dourada (Brachyplatystoma flavicans), piramutaba (Brachyplatystoma vaillantii), tamoata (Hoplosternum littorale), pescada amarela (Cynioscion acoupa), pescada branca (Plagioscion squamosissimus) and gó (Macrodon anyclodon). The Ver-O-Peso market was visited 5 times in the early morning and surveyed for all individuals of the 7 species. All individuals were measured by eye and placed in to 20 cm size categories. At the end of the 5 days all data were summed to compile one master table of total number of fish per size category for each species. IBAMA regulations were obtained from Luciano Montag at UFPA. This study found that 6 of the 7 species studied had illegal individuals being sold at Ver-O-Peso. In total there were 3,438 illegal fish present over the 5 days. The only species that did not have undersized individuals present was tamoata. The methodology used was not specific enough to determine if there were undersized tamoata. IBAMA had set forth sound regulations and laws governing what size fish were legal to take, however enforcement and monitoring of the markets was minimal at best. Overall this study supported the trend seen in the western Amazon, undersized fish are being sold at public markets in plain view of regulatory groups and this is still a major problem in the Amazonian fishery.


Environmental Monitoring | Natural Resources Management and Policy


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