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Motorized lobster fishing vessel. Photo by: John van Herwijnen

The Brazilian fishing fleet for rock lobster consisted out of 3,760 vessels in 2000, of which 60% were registered and the rest was operating illegally. Of the registered vessels, about 1,700 were sail fleet and 2,050 motorized fleet (2,000 with wooden hull and only 50 with steel hull). These sail and wooden hull vessels only reach a length of about 10 meters while the steel hull vessels can be of 22-30 meters length. All vessels catch in FAO 31 and 41. Regarding the sail and some wooden hull vessels, mainly for free diving, there is no input. The vessels go to shallow waters and artificial reefs where they just dive to search for rock lobster. They can be at 3-4 meters deep. The steel hull vessels, contributing to most of the landings, look for shallower water at sea. The catch of rock lobster is put under severe regulations to protect its population. There is a limitation of vessel licenses, a restrictions of catch season, minimum lengths (tail 13 cm, carapace 7.5 cm) and mesh sizes. Scuba diving is not permitted, only free diving with air from above the water.