THE LEGAL PATH OF AN PIRARUCU FISH SKIN
Maybe you don't know, but all pirarucu fish skin, so that it can be marketed and transported in the brazillian national territory, from areas of sustainable fisheries management to fish processing units, to industries and to the final customer, needs a registry.
"But what kind of registry is this?"
Well, that's what we'll explain to you today.
In the 1990s, predatory fishing of pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) was recurrent. The lack of monitoring and inspection led to the species' extinction threat and the consequent ban on its fishing.
In the Amazon region, pirarucu is not only part of the culture and regional traditions but has always represented the livelihood of thousands of families, its meat has been feeding forest peoples and riverside populations for centuries.
Something needed to be done to maintain the balance: on the one hand, the survival of the species and on the other, thousands of families whose lives were linked to catching fish for their sustenance.
"And how was this reconciled?"
Combining the local knowledge of the riverside communities and the scientific knowledge of the Mamirauá Institute, the so-called Participative Management of Pirarucu was created in 1999.
With it, the annual closed season was implemented, which consists of the total ban on pirarucu fishing between December 1st and May 31st in the Amazon region, as well as safe annual fishing quotas, regulated by IBAMA (Brazillian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), which after counting the fish in the lakes of the management areas, can reach up to 30% of the adult fish (all arapaima over 1.50m in length are adults) available for fishing. The other 70% remain untouched to guarantee the reproduction of the species.
And so it happened.
In the year of its implementation, in the Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS) Mamirauá, 2,507 fish were counted, reaching just under 3,000 kg caught and directly benefiting 42 fishermen...
In 2019, almost 500 tons were caught, more than 190 thousand fish were counted and more than 1100 families were directly benefited from sustainable management.
"Okay, but where does the skin registry come in?"
To intensify and reinforce inspection of the fishing and commercialization of pirarucu fish, IBAMA regulated in 2004 that all cargo related to pirarucu, from the management area of origin of the fish to its final destination, must be accompanied by the Fish Transit Guide.
In this tab, which is the REGISTRY, which contains, in addition to the area where the fish comes from, it informs the quantity (per unit) of fish/skins, the weight of the respective load, which fish processing unit they are leaving, and to which industry they are being destined. In addition to also containing the fishing authorization information respecting the annual quota and the individual seal numbers of each fish that is in that load.
That's right: each fish contains, individually, a numbered seal duly registered with IBAMA, which authorizes its circulation and transport from the place of origin of sustainable management to the processing industry.
By the way, it is worth remembering that all pirarucu is fished for the meat, not for the skin.
Skin is a by-product of the food industry.
What used to be garbage is now a vector of change in the quality of life of thousands of riverside people, as since 2008 Nova Kaeru started a program with the riverside communities of the Mamirauá RDS to use the pirarucu fish skin, which was thrown away after fishing for meat consumption, turning into environmental waste, but which today, and in the last 14 years, has been something transforming in the quality of life, representing about 25% of the income of these communities.
No skin can be transported or legally marketed without the information of its registry.
To leave no doubt:
1 - The community of origin of sustainable management cannot fish the pirarucu without authorization from the fishing quota by IBAMA;
2 - After fishing, the fish destined for commercialization is duly registered, with individualized seal numbers for each fish and a numbered loading guide.
3 - The fish processing unit that will transport the cargo must also issue the transit guide for fish, which will contain all the information on that cargo: the place of origin, the unit quantity of fish/skins, weight, individual seal numbers, and which industry destiny.
4 - The destination industry, even after processing the skin, must also indicate, in its tax documents, the mentions of the registration and guides of the commercialized skins.
It is a very well-fed information network, in which each actor in the operation is strictly supervised by each other so that the sustainable development of the species is maintained.
It does not stop there.
As another means of monitoring and inspection, at the international level, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, to which Brazil is a signatory, determines the need for evaluation and issuance of licenses, by IBAMA, which authorize the export or import of pirarucu.
It is worth remembering that the pirarucu fish is not currently in danger of extinction (Appendix II of CITES), but its commercialization continues, and deserves to continue, with strict regulation and inspection.
Nova Kaeru supports the sustainable management of pirarucu fish and only commercializes skins with the proper registration with IBAMA, in addition to actively participating in the sustainable development of fisheries and supporting riverside communities.