The First partnership for maintainable handling of Symphysodon discus ( Acara Discus ) IN R.D.S Piagaçu-Purus . Lake Ayapuá , lake Uauaçu , lake jari
H&K began in March of 2010 the first partnership based in sustainability
Based on concern and environmental preservation, scientific research, the Fisherman’s technical training, and valorization of the explored natural resource, seeking the improvement of the fisherman’s live condition.
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Sustainable Commerce of the Discus Fish Species
The pilot-project of planned fishing for Discus Fish in the Municipality of Beruri had its first experimental sale this week.
All the individuals involved are very optimistic, from the fishermen to the entrepreneurs, to the researchers; they all seek to solve the delicate relation between the natural balance, economic and social viability and the laws of market.
The goal is to build a sustainable model for both sides, the fishermen and the people who sell the catch focusing on ecological preservation.
H&K Ornamental Fish, a Brazilian company from the North of the Country initially bought 300 units of Discus fish for a total of R$3,500 (around US$1,750.00). The deal was made with a group of 10 fishermen from the communities of Evaristo, Pinheiros, and Uixi, all members of the Sustainable Development Reserve Plagacu-Purus. The next fishing expedition is planned for September, and the demand for the catch will be defined depending on the progress of the research about the species.
Traditionally the fisherman would sell a Discus fish for R$2.00 (less than $1.00) regardless of species. H&K Ornamental Fish paid between R$6 and $40 ($3 and $20) per fish, depending of color patterns of each fish, etc. The difference in worth is exclusively derived from the controlled source of the fish. “The International buyer will pay more when they are sure the product comes from fisheries that respect the life cycle of the fish, and benefits the fisherman with qualification and income” explained entrepreneur Hudson Crizanto.
The price of a Discus fish can reach up to $500 in the Asian and European markets. Hudson explains that “The fish doesn’t “swim” to Japan”, as he explains the costs involved with transporting, taxes, and the upkeep of the stock.
“Just to bring the fish from Beruri to Manaus it was necessary to pay for two days of boat rental as well as the Diesel fuel. To take the fish from Amazonas to Fortaleza I pay the equivalent of 17% of the cost of the purchase. And there will still be taxes to export the fish as well as the costs associated with keeping them alive and healthy”.
Mario Pereira Sousa, a 40 year old, local fisherman, started fishing at age 9 and today he understands the advantages of keeping the balance between the offer and the demand for a certain species so it stops loss of profit by over supplying the fish.
“It took us just two days to fish for the 300 Discus fish; this was the first time we had a chance to sell directly to the buyer without a “go-between” person.
Sidebar – Research Goes on in the Region.
The research about the potential of sustainable exploration of ornamental fish as an alternative source of income for local communities started in 2005, and was developed by the Pigacu Institute and National Institute for Research in Amazonia. Biologist Felipe Rossoni has been there from the start and noted that there were already collection activities for Discus fish in the area and that is what motivated the studies to understand the biology, ecology, and productive chain of the species.
“This whole history of exports with no profit to the local communities was the starting point in our search for a model where we can bring profit to the local fisherman without damaging the life cycle of the Discus fish.” – explains Rossoni
The next phase of the project will create official systems for the controlled exploration with the approval of the State Center for Conservation (loose translation) and IBAMA. The fisherman and researchers will formalize protocols for the capture, upkeep and storage, and transportation of the fish. The commercial quotas will be decided pending the results of this research. The group is also working on identifying other species with potential for this kind of exploration.