Having in mind that the national authorities didn’t actualize the statistical data of the fleet, capture production and people involved in the industry since 2010, it is difficult to give an actual and reliable numbers of the fishing industry in Brazil. There are likely ten thousands of (il-)legal artisanal motorized and non-motorized vessels. Small local fishermen with wind motioned boats, called jangadas, go out daily in shallow areas (until 60 meters depths) for the catch of snapper in the northern part of Brazil (FAO 31). The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), part of the Ministry of Environment, is monitoring the fishing industry closely to counter illegal and unregulated fishing.

Key features
Number of boats

23 thousand artisanal vessels in 2007

Type of fishing


Fishing areas

Northern part of Brazil, FAO 31

Target species

Snapper, croaker, parrot fish

Landing areas

All local fishing ports

Potential risks
  • Informality and illegality

Fleet and boat characteristics

As mentioned, due to the lack of actual statistics, it is impossible to give reliable figures about the number of vessels involved. There are thousands of (il-)legal wooden hull motorized and non-motorized vessels. According to a 2007 figure for a FAO report, there were 23 thousand vessels of small and medium capacity, with motor propulsion and with limited diversified fishing gears. These vessels only reach a length of about 10 meters. Sometimes they have a chilling-freezing installation on board but normally they must catch on the day and bring the product on shore. Some fishermen have several vessels.

Fishing method

The wind motioned wooden hull vessels are not going so far as most of them must come back to shore on the same day. Until 5 miles is normal. The artisanal fishermen work with handlines and sometimes with traps (shrimps). Fishermen lower with a line with a baited hook, with their hands, into the water from the vessel.

Target species

Handline fishing is an opportunistic fishing method, and there is no real target species. Most of handline catches are composed of snapper, croaker, parrot fish, but could also be tuna species.

Landing areas

Landing areas are all along the northern Brazilian coast. The small sail and wooden hull vessels can land their catches anywhere, as they are not limited to large ports due to their size.


Until so far, there are no strict regulations regarding seasons. Snapper, croaker, catfish, shrimps can be caught in the northern part of Brazil anytime. There is no migratory nor high or low season.

Stock status

As there are no actual and reliable data about fleet, catches, landings, illegal fishing, etc, it is difficult to give an idea of the stock status of the different species. FAO capture production data shows for Brazil a steady catch volume for red snapper over the last 10 years, however it is not clear whether this is the case because the population is stable or whether fishing effort increased.

Potential risks

Due to the long coast line, small vessels involved and the lack of efficient control by Brazilian authorities, illegal fishing is very common. This makes it difficult to control the catch volume, but also to counter the catch of small and immature fish, which threatens the survival of a population. Moreover, corruption by some local authorities is difficult to erase completely. Other potential risks are the overfishing, climate change and water pollution.