Amazonas community returns to fishing after the worst drought in 120 years | National Newspaper

Amazonas community returns to fishing after the worst drought in 120 years | National Newspaper
Amazonas community returns to fishing after the worst drought in 120 years | National Newspaper
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Community residents in Amazonas return to fishing, after historic drought

After facing fish deaths and the worst drought in more than 120 years, a community in the Amazon can return to fishing.

She doesn’t have much time to take care of the garden, because she really cares for the family’s livelihood. The mesh, a fishing net, is almost ready.

“What does fishing mean to me? Everything, because that’s where I support my family,” says fisherman Francisca Santos.

In the same riverside community on the Solimões River, fisherman Sebastião do Carmo also prepares fishing material. Small pieces of lead help stabilize the mesh on the river bottom. All this is for the most anticipated moment of the year: the Mapará fishingwhich has been banned since November 15, 2023, and which takes place in an organized manner in the region. O closed period restricts fishing activities to preserve species during reproduction. It took exactly four months, and included species other than the mapará.

The whole community mobilizes. For Amazonians, fish without flour is impossible.

“The ideal for us here is flour. Because this here is very important for us, because this here floods everything, so we only live off fishing. Then you have to have flour to eat when it’s flooded”, says farmer João Bosco.

After the extreme drought of the rivers in 2023, the waters have not yet recovered. Therefore, fishermen look for ways to get closer to the fishing area, which is distant. The trip begins at dawn, walking in the dark to the meeting point. You have to make way because there is a lot of grass floating. Consequence of drought.

“The path here is very narrow and you can only paddle. So, we are getting very close to the exit, so that the fishermen can then start the engines so that we can get to the fishing area faster”, says reporter Daniela Branches.

But the difficulty in getting there also occurred in the middle of the river. It took a while to find the way to cross to the lake. Fishing starts at exactly 6am. Each one in their own little piece of water. There are kilometers of mesh stretched across the river.

Despite the water level being well below expectations in the area, more than a thousand fishermen are spread across the lake. There are people who waited for the right moment to fish, believing in the abundance of the region’s rivers.

“It greatly boosts the city’s economy. Then it arrived in the municipality like in 2023, an average of R$ 1 million and a little in four days”, says Mozamir Alves, Secretary of Fisheries at Careiro da Várzea.

Fisherman Sebastião do Carmo and his wife were sure of a good catch.

“It’s too expected. We wait all year. Here today we are making another dream come true, the investment we make for this fishery. When this period arrives, we try to replace what we invested”, she says.

In 2024, around 280 tons of mapará have already left Lago do Rei, in Careiro da Várzea, Amazonas. This smooth, bearded fish is mostly frozen outside of Brazil, but there it is negotiated at fishing time.

Rafael Almeida, known for being one of the region’s great fishermen, deserved the recognition. In 2023, he and his wife fished more than two tons. In 2024, it was just because she is pregnant. But she intends to leave the lake with her trousseau guaranteed. A gift from the waters.

“It’s about waiting for the good news, having faith in God, who is in charge,” he says.

The article is in Portuguese

Brazil

Tags: Amazonas community returns fishing worst drought years National Newspaper

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