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 thousand of (il-)legal artisanal motorized and non-motorized vessels.

Key features
Number of boats


Type of fishing


Fishing areas
  • Amazon Delta rivers (catfish)
  • FAO 31 and some northern parts of FAO 41 (wild caught shrimp)
Target species
  • Catfish (Brachyplatystoma vaillantii)
  • wild shrimp (Farfantepenaeus brasiliensis)
Landing areas

Local landing areas in the Amazon area and private landing places (like Pesqueira Maguary)

Potential risks
  • Damage of the environment
  • Illegal fishing

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. A FAO report from 2007 mentions that an industrial fishery had been developed in the Amazon basin, using steel trawler vessels with a length from 18 to 24 meters, that operated in pairs. Currently, Pesqueira Maguary is one of the biggest trawling fishing company when it comes to catfish and shrimp capture.

Fishing method

For the shrimps and catfish the trawling nets are mainly uses. Normally, two vessels go parallel and drag the trawl net in between the vessels.


Until so far, there are no strict regulations regarding seasons. Catfish and 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. There are lots of reports informing about the dangers of the tuna and catfish fishery in Brazil but these reports confirm that these stories are based on practical experiences told by fishermen instead of hard figures. It is probably true that the stock of catfish declined in the 2000’s but there are some projects running to increase the sustainability. One of the major problems is the illegal fishing and hopefully, the Brazilian authorities will be able to reduce this risk at short-midterm.

Potential risks

Sustainability is still in danger despite the efforts by several organizations (like FAO) and authorities. An example is the obligation to use only nets of at least mesh sizes of 12.5 cm for the catch of catfish in the Amazon Delta. Moreover, corruption by some local authorities is difficult to erase completely. As in all wild catch seafood, other potential risks are the overfishing, climate change and water pollution.