Fishing tourism has been an economic option in addition to agribusiness in MT

Fishing tourism has been an economic option in addition to agribusiness in MT
Fishing tourism has been an economic option in addition to agribusiness in MT
São Félix do Araguaia (1020 km to the Northeast) is famous for its beautiful freshwater beaches and the beach seasons in July. However, the municipality, which has stood out in agriculture and livestock, has now found sport fishing to be a profitable modality for the city’s economy.

“Our municipality is diverse, it has more than one economic activity, such as agribusiness, but we are strengthening tourism through sport fishing. Before, there were more beach seasons, but that was not as profitable as sport fishing, which has added much more economic value”, assesses the mayor of the municipality Janailza Taveira.

Another positive change she highlighted was the transition of traditional and riverside fishermen into fishing guides. Instead of catching the fish and killing them to sell the pieces by the kilo, they have gained more by taking sport fishermen to where they can find the most sought after species in the Araguaia River, such as the pirara and the piraíba.

“They are the true preservers of nature and fish. The Zero Transport law brought this incentive to fishing tourism, improving the municipality’s economy with the appreciation of this sustainable tourist modality. Our municipality today is already experiencing a new reality when there is sport fishing and no longer predatory fishing”, commented the mayor.

Mayor of São Félix do Araguaia, Janailza Taveira

The vice-mayor of Itaúba (580 km to the North), Douglas Aziliero, is also an enthusiast of fishing tourism and the economic impacts on the city. The activity, which generates around R$8 billion in the country, has changed the scenario in Itaúba, whose main economic activities are the timber sector, livestock and agriculture.

In Mato Grosso, sport fishing generates around R$500 million and has the capacity to grow and reach up to R$2 billion annually in the next five years.

“Itaúba changed the tourism scenario in our region, precisely because of sport fishing. It started about three years ago and in the last year alone, we generated more than R$5 million from sport fishing. The segment has changed the reality of Itaúba, attracting new investors not only in sport fishing, but also in other sectors because they are seeing that the city will develop through tourism”, said Douglas, who is also the owner of Pousada e Rancho Vem Ser Happy, on the banks of the Teles Pires River.

Supporter of the Zero Transport Law, he argues that live fish in rivers are much more economically important for tourists, for extractive fishermen who can become fishing guides and for generating wealth for municipalities.

“The fish was running out in our rivers, and the governor was right in the way he enacted the law. We need to defend ourselves because in five years we will reap the results of stopping killing fish. With a larger population, we will be able to attract more tourists not only from Brazil, but from around the world.”

Even before the legislation, Douglas Aziliero says that the city’s professional fishermen had already stopped slaughtering fish and started working as guides, earning almost double what they earned when they only sold fish.

“They saw that this aspect of sport fishing is more profitable for them than extractive fishing itself, and they are achieving things that before they would not have been able to achieve only in extractive fishing.”

Gift in exchange for preservation

To avoid the death of fish in the river and preserve fishing tourism, businessman Marcos Martins, from Sapezal (510 km to the West), took the initiative to pay fishermen who return fish to the river with a reel.

“Since we started this project, our intention was to leave the fish alive, because that way it has more value. The moment you release a fish into the river, you leave it alive and give another fisherman the opportunity to have fun too. I see a lot of fishermen go to the river to kill the fish. The game is to go to the river, catch the fish, release it and have fun with family and friends”, said Marcos, who is the owner of Reipar Caça, Pesca e Camping.

He acquired the store in 2019 from a friend and since then has promoted sport fishing competitions and rewarded those who return the fish.

“I myself was a fish killer, but I realized that living fish has more added value. I believe that the Zero Transport law is a fundamental measure for tourism, it transforms the lives of riverside residents, bringing more opportunities to earn through sport fishing”.

Zero Transport

Through Law 12,197/2023, known as Zero Transport, the State Government aims to combat predatory fishing in rivers. The transport, storage and commercialization of the species Cachara, Caparari, Dourado, Jaú, Matrinchã, Pintado/Surubin, Piraíba, Piraputanga, Pirara, Pirarucu, Trairão and Tucunaré are prohibited for a period of 5 years.

Fishing activity will continue to be permitted for indigenous, original and quilombola peoples, who use it for subsistence and also for marketing and transporting live bait.

In addition to these activities, the new project also allows “catch and release” and professional artisanal fishing, as long as they meet the specific conditions set out in the law, with the exception of the closed season, which is piracema.

For three years, the State will pay compensation of one minimum wage per month to professional and artisanal fishermen registered in the State Registry of Professional Fishermen (Repesca) and in the General Fisheries Registry (RGP) who prove fixed residence in Mato Grosso and that artisanal fishing it was his exclusive profession and main means of subsistence.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Fishing tourism economic option addition agribusiness



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