Sardine, Sardinella brasiliensis. (Photo: Stock File)
Sardine ban to be in effect until February
Monday, November 04, 2013, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The Brazilian government decided to ban sardine fishing (Sardinella brasiliensis) in the coastal area off Macaé, Quissamã, Carapebus and Rio das Ostras, in the state of Rio de Janeiro from 1 November.
The ban will govern for three and a half months, until 15 February, 2014, in order to ensure the reproduction of the pelagic species.
The sardine is one of the most consumed fish in the region of Lagos do Rio
According to the data provided by the Foundation and Institute of Fisheries of Rio de Janeiro (Fiperj) in 2011 about 7,000 tonnes of sardines were caught in Cabo Frio while during the first half of 2013 a lot of 4,453 tonnes were caught, Globo reported.
Fishermen who do not respect the ban will be fined or may even go to jail for environmental crime.
The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama) clarified that the sardines intended to be used as live bait for fishing tuna and other species must also respect the stipulated minimum size of 17 centimetres.
The previous close season set by Ibama lasted from 15 June to 31 July, 2013, reported Clique Diário.
The Government argues that the ban should not affect the market economy because during that period consumers can choose other fish.
The canned sardine represents two thirds of the domestic market of canned fish, according to the Brazilian Association of Food Industries but in recent years the population of this small pelagic experienced a sharp decline.
In order to protect the resource, the government ordered a five month ban a year and in an effort to collaborate with the canning industry and meet the lower supply of sardines, several specialists of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) began to investigate other species that may replace it.
In this framework, in August Ibama announced the start of the development of the project 'La matrinxã (Brycon cephalus) as an alternative to the true sardine in the canned fish industry.'
Diego Neves, who coordinates the project with the researcher Patricia Mochiaro, both of Embrapa Fisheries and Aquaculture in Palmas, explained that it is "a comprehensive project that will examine the economic viability of production, the consumer market acceptance, the technological processes of La matrinxã and the transfer of good practices to those farmers interested in producing the species."
- Substitutes for canned sardines researched
By Analia Murias