The two lobster species, Panulirus argus (red lobster, or lagosta-vermelha in Portuguese) and Panulirus laevicauda (green lobster, or lagosta-verde in Portuguese), represent the most important fishing resources of the coastlines of northern and northeastern Brazil. The fishery exports mainly to the US market, with an average worth 60 million USD per year, and can provide for the livelihood of more than 15,000 fishers.
Unfortunately, largely due to a failure to apply timely management tools and inadequate enforcement, the fishery has faced mortality levels above those scientifically recommended for a long time. On the other hand, landings have remained relatively stable despite an increase in effort and four decades of constant geographical expansion of fishing grounds, and along the last few years the exports trend has decreased, which are signs of stock overexploitation.
By August 2011, CeDePesca applied and got funds from the Resources Legacy Fund to contract a pre-assessment against the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council and these were the results:
- No official stock assessment had been performed since 2006. The last one showed the stock as overfished, so a recovery plan is needed.
- Neither adequate limit nor adequate target biological reference points had been set.
- A harvest strategy exists, but it is based on the number of traps and monitoring has been deficient since 2006, therefore presumably the strategy is failing.
- Existing rules about effort limits are not realistic because they are established as “trap equivalent” quantities and there is no official calculation for these equivalences with nets and diving, which are largely used instead of traps and also are not legal. Therefore, there is no means of verification.
- The main trouble in meeting requirements of MSC Principle 2 (impacts on the environment) is the lack of information about the impacts on other retained species (lobsters, octopus, and some small fish), discarded species (small fish), and the seabed.
- The legal framework is generally acceptable but lacks specific goals and clear instruments.
- The Lobster Management Commission (CGPL) could potentially do good work but had not been effective since 2004.
- CGPL has long-term explicit objectives, but the precautionary approach is just implicit and there are no short-term goals.
- The decision-making process at CGPL, though actively participating, is not quickly responsive and is not publicly documented.
- No research plan was currently in place.
- The management system conducts no regular self-evaluation of performance.
Along 2012, CeDePesca main efforts were directed at dissemination of these results and in trying to get the support of the Brazilian government, while conducting negotiations with Ceará exporters to build an industry-driven FIP. Since 2013, after many months of negotiations, the local exporters association, SINDFRIO, took over the project in association with CeDePesca.
For more information regarding this FIP's progress, please visit CeDePesca's Brazilian Lobster FIP Public Report (updated quarterly).
The two lobster species, Panulirus argus (red lobster, or lagosta-vermelha in Portuguese) and Panulirus laevicauda (green lobster, or lagosta-verde in Portuguese), represent the most important fishing resources of the coastlines
- Achieve a mandatory live-lobster delivery policy, so that lobsters are delivered alive to processing plants by May 2020.
- Achieve the adoption of mandatory landing points and control points as the basis for an accurate catch certificate program by January 2023.
- Achieve the prohibition of domestic lobster trade during the towards the end of fishing season closure by May 2020.
- Improve the work of the Management Commission for Lobster (CGPL) by January 2023.
- Collaborate in achieving the full implementation of the monitoring and research plan by January 2023.
- Continue to conduct annual stock assessments and recommending TACs by January 2023.
- Achieve the adoption of output limits (TAC) by May 2020.
FIP at a Glance