Deep-water fisheries in Brazil: history, status and perspectives
Alvarez Perez,José Angel
de Souza Soares,Ana Luisa
The recent development of deep-water fisheries off Brazil is reviewed from biological, eco-nomic, and political perspectives. This process has been centered in the southeastem and southern sectors of the Brazilian coast (19°-34°S) and was motivated by the overfishing of the main coastal resources and a government-induced vessel-chartering program. Shelf break (100-250 m) operations by national hook-and-line and trawl vessels intensified in the 1990s. Around 2000-2001, however, foreign-chartered longliners, gillnetters, potters, and trawlers started to operate in Brazilian waters, leading the occupation of the upper slope (250-500 m), mostly targeting monkfish (Lophyus gastrophysus), the Argentine hake (Merluccius hubbsi), the Brazilian codling (Urophycis mystacea), the wreckfish (Polyprion americanus), the Argentine short-fin squid (Illex argentinus), the red crab (Chaceon notialis), and the royal crab (Chaceon ramosae). Between 2004 and 2007, chartered trawlers established a valuable fishery on deep-water shrimps (family Aristeidae), heavily exploiting the lower slope (500-1000 m). Total catches of deep-water resources varied annually from 5,756 ton in 2000 to a maximum of 19,923 ton in 2002, decreasing to nearly 11,000 ton in 2006. Despite intensive data collection, the availability of timely stock assessments, and a formal participatory process for the discussion of management plans, deep-water stocks are already considered to be overexploited due to limitations of governance. .