Pelagic longline fisheries in southeastern/south Brazil. Who cares about the law?
The fishing industry has been facing problems related to catch yields, predatory competition and economic collapse. Management should be based on substantial scientific studies and the state's ability to implement these. In Brazil, the surface longline fishery has been in existence since the 1950s, and remains of great economic importance. This study analyzes 179 legal instruments (1934–2014), divided into restrictive, administrative and promotional, comparing with catches landed (1996–2011). The results show that there was a complete disrespect for the regulations, wherein fleets continued landing prohibited or size limited species, such as Kajikia albida, Makaira nigricans, Alopias superciliosus, A. vulpinus, Carcharhinus longimanus, Galeorhinus galeus and Xiphias gladius. Furthermore, divergent regulatory provisions have hindered understanding/implementation of regulations by all those involved. Being a country of continental proportions and with different longline fisheries along the coast, conducting scientific studies and the development of normative approaches becomes a huge challenge. In a dynamic activity such as fishing, the constant review of these regulations will allow fisheries management to become more accurate and in accordance with the aspirations of the different interests involved. Despite the surface longline fishery having operated for 60 years in Brazil, the existence of incongruous laws makes the management and control of this activity incompatible with the conservation of species. The lack of regulations governing this fishery creates a "gap", increasing the risk of extinction of species (target and bycatch) and the future collapse of this activity.