Management of pirarucu is union between science and communities


There are over 40 areas that ensure income generation for local fishermen while also maintaining the preservation of the Amazon.

In the 1990s, scientific analysis indicated that the giant pirarucu, a fish known to weigh over 200 kilos, was at risk of complete extinction.

Three decades later, the news is different: together, scientists and residents are part of a methodology that not only guaranteed the preservation of the species, but also generates income.

We have income generation and environmental preservation. Fruits of the union between traditional and scientific knowledge.

João Campos-Silva, biologist.

And how does this union between traditional and scientific knowledge work?

Visual observation by fishermen, counting the fish at the surface of lakes and rivers, allows for an evaluation of the pirarucu stock.

This leads to a rotating system of seasonal fishing permits, ensuring that fishing is either allowed or restricted based on the counts while maintaining the balance of stocks.

The community helps protect lakes and rivers by avoiding overfishing. The rotation system has helped increase the production of pirarucu meat by up to 400% in some areas, thanks to the supervision and collaboration of residents.

The result is that in the Amazon today, there are more than 40 pirarucu management areas, spanning the Solimões, Jutaí, Juruá, Purus and Unini Rivers.

Among the initiatives is the Association of Rural Producers of Carauari (Asproc), which focuses on the future of arapaima management.

At a recent meeting of the association, topics such as the traceability of pirarucu, exportation projects and the creation of a fair trade seal were discussed.

were caught, benefiting

34.589 pirarucus

Furthermore, in 2023, Asproc is forecasting an optimistic production. As of November, an estimated

3.058 people

in various management communities in the Amazon.

The work done by the association ends up acting as a market price regulator, because, by better paying the managing communities for the managed fish, it inhibits the action of the middlemen and explorers, and strengthens fair and supportive trade

Adevaldo Dias, an advisor for Asproc.

REPORTING Eduardo Geraque TEXT AND EDITING Carolina Dantas PHOTOS Adriano Gambarini, Ana Catarina, Bernardo Oliveira, Marizilda Cruppe and BrunoKelly, with photos sent by Asproc. VISUAL IDENTITY Clara Borges ASSEMBLY Luiza Toledo