|CERES No. 097 - January - February 1984 (FAO Ceres, 1984, 50 p.)|
Recent estimates indicate that about 650 000 persons are engaged in Brazil's fishing industry. About 400 000 of these live and work in northeastern Brazil, mainly in some 300 isolated fishing settlements located along the beautiful sweeping beaches and in the mangrove swamps on the coast of Maranhao State. This coast is belie, to offer the best prospects for increasing the country's fish production but at present the fishing gear used rudimentary and modern marketing methods almost unknown. Most of the fishing is done with traps, set out to take advantage of the tides, because there are not enough fishing boat and most, in any case, are inefficient Some of the credit funds earmarked for improving the fishing fleet hay' been diverted to the construction geleiras, sailboats used to navigate the coastline in order to buy fish that can be sold at increased prices in Sao Luis, the state capital.
Elsewhere, there are another 250 000 artisanal fishermen who work independently of the settlements, a matter of some concern to the federal government which decree almost a decade ago that all artisan' fishermen should be affiliated with fishing settlement. The government is now allocating considerably more resources to develop a more ration fisheries programme and to assist artisanal fishermen to upgrade the productivity and incomes.
This initiative will eventually involve an investment of $130 million under direction of the Brazilian Superintendency for Fishery Development (SUDEPE) with financing from the Inter-American Development Ban (IDB) and technical assistance provided by FAO. A preliminary FAO/IC study, carried out at the request of Brazilian authorities, recommend three areas of activity for the programme: the provision of an over; line of credit for private enterprise fishing; the construction of a fishing terminal in Maranhao State; the suport of fishing activities, including restructure, technical assistance, training. It is within this last year that an FAO/IDB/SUDEPE project for assistance to artisanal fishermen was formulated. Based at Sao Jose do Ribamar, kilometres from Sao Luis, the project is intended to develop improved fishing and boatbuilding technologies, its expatriate and national counterpart specialists working closely with local extension personnel who are expected to become "multiplication elements". Project technicians have signed a small wooden fishing boat, e metres in length, equipped for both sail and engine propulsion is boat, being constructed in Sao is, will be capable of operating safely off the Maranhao coast, as 11 as in its bays and those of neighbouring states. It will be compatible with both fishing gear now in use I new types of gear that will be manufactured and demonstrated during the project. To provide for documentation for in future training work, all stages the boatbuilding are being photographed. After its construction the boat will be tested and technical data regarding stability, safety, displacement, etc., will be recorded. When the boat has been approved, the project will furnish a detailed technical bulletin, stating materials and construction techniques used, and results of the various tests, to fishermen and boatbuilders in the region. In each settlement where the boat is demonstrated, extension workers will select fishermen to participate in the demonstrations and will contact those interested in building this type of boat.
The project will also study possible improvements to sailboats presently being used. One of the region's most commonly used types of sailboats, known as "Bastardo", is undergoing many modifications intended to improve its performance. Another project priority is the introduction of new types of fishing gear and the improvement of present gear. Initially, four types of routinely used gear have been selected for modification by the experts: the longline, the gill net, the fykenet, and the beach seine. This last type has since been shelved owing to new environmental protection regulations decreed by SUDEPE. The new models are being made by local fishermen and net makers under the project team's guidance. As these prototypes become available, they are demonstrated by the technicians, with the assistance of extension workers who have become familiar with their manufacture and use.
The first demonstration of a modified longline was held at the Sao Jose and Cururupu settlements during late 1982 when it was tested by local fishermen together with a traditional longline. Although the modified version was equipped with 10 per cent fewer hooks than the traditional one, it caught about three times the weight of fish. Each municipality along the coast will now receive a complete set of modified fishing gear. At a later stage, fishermen will be instructed in techniques of making their own gear.