Mariculture in Florianopolis. (Photo: StockFile)
Mariculture activities suspended by court order in Florianopolis
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
The Federal Court complied with a civil action of the Federal Public Ministry and decided to indefinitely suspend the mariculture activity on the coast of Great Florianopolis, the largest shellfish producing area of the country.
As a result of this measure, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama) will conduct a preliminary study of environmental impact assessment (EIA) in the municipalities of Palhoça, São Jose, Biguaçu and Governador Celso Ramos, in the state of Santa Catarina.
These areas account for 95 per cent of the Brazilian production of oysters, mussels and scallops, Globo Rural reported.
In addition, Great Florianopolis represents 70 per cent of the state of Santa Catarina’s production, and 55 per cent at national level.
The ruling was prompted by a public civil action questioning the state body Environmental Foundation (FATMA), responsible for the granting of environmental licenses for the activity.
The suspension order came after an oil spill in an abandoned Power Plant station of Santa Catarina (Celesc), in the south of Santa Catarina Island.
According to available data, 12,000 litres of oil spilled in about 730 hectares of sea.
The civil action filed argues that shellfish farming contributes to the elimination of regional animal species, as well as causing problems in transit routes and artisanal fishing. Furthermore, according to the claim, the activity causes visual pollution and contamination through shellfish excrement.
"I have been receiving reports from communities since 2009 citing irregularities in mariculture," said the prosecutor Eduardo Barragan.
"When I became aware of the oil spill, I gathered more information. The new trial decided to suspend the licenses issued by FATMA and determined the start of Ibama’s procedure," he added.
The president of the Association of Aquaculture of Santa Catarina, Antônio Mello, warned that the ruling would affect all areas of the country to which production is sent.
While Andre Luis Novaes, specialist in mariculture ordering and agronomist of Pesquisa Agropecuária e Extensão Rural de Santa Catarina (Epagri) Company believes the measure is extreme and has no justification.
"A number of statements without scientific basis was made. The situation between producers is chaotic. We, technicians, know that an Ibama’s impact report can’t be made within an hour. This will damage the harvest," Novaes continued.
Aquaculture producers "are under shock", according to industry sources.
"There is a possibility of profession extinction, because the study takes years. If we don’t work for all that time, the profession will be over, whatever is in the water will be lost," lamented a producer.
By Analia Murias