22 dezembro 2021


Milena Barbosa de Melo

Doutora, mestre e especialista em Direito Internacional pela Universidade de Coimbra- Portugal.

Professora da Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, Diretora acadêmica da ANEDD, Professora conteudista


The marine environment makes us reflect on many economic and social possibilities including freedom of the seas, and therefore, the right to navigate and the activities related to these referred freedoms.

In this case, we think about the right of Brazilians with power to economically explore an activity they desire if it does not directly interfere in national sovereignty.

And that is why it is easy to identify which maritime companies involved with fishing exploration are indeed entitled to these rights. However, the way companies use this right may be considered questionable, as oftentimes they end up extrapolating the common sense in business practice and damage the social, economic, and environmental integrity.

It is not about a politically correct speech, but a critical reflection about the main objective of the functioning of a society along with the public interest’s supremacy about what is private.

The point is that companies aim for profit and frequently disregard the damage they can do to society. Then, they end up using questionable mechanisms to make profit, as is the case with illegal fishing, which ties directly with the exploitation of labor.

In Brazil, while it is possible to identify a normative system properly structured to combat illegal fishing as well as slavery, there is still much to be done. This is because when it comes to illegal fishing the country does not have updated statistical data about national fishing activity, and without real data, there is no way of knowing if fishing activities carried out in Brazil are illegal or how big the damage is.

As such, we cannot know how much fishing is done in Brazil nor how it is done, and consequently, if the Brazilian maritime species can be sustainable to benefit the environment and the society that needs it.

Brazilian data does not have much information on this. According to Oceana, in 2020 only 6% of the 118 fishing stocks in the country had updated data. Thanks to Brazil’s extensive Coastal Zone, we can estimate that there is a large volume of fishing in the country, but data accuracy is derailed by the absence of supervision and of course, of data.

Although there is nothing that indicates marine environmental damage, data provided in 2014 by the Ministry of the Environment shows there is a real threat to the marine population, and little is being done to revert the situation.

Brazil has adequate laws to combat illegal fishing but lacks more efficient supervision in its Exclusive Economic Zone, capable of facing this behavior from maritime companies regarding illegal fishing exploitation, which is the only way to keep this country’s maritime future from being hazy.


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