Extracted and farmed shrimp fisheries in Brazil: economic, environmental and social consequences of exploitation



This paper analyses shrimp caught from the wild and farmed shrimp in Brazil, focusing on production, amounts exported and earnings, with comparisons drawn to all of South America and the world in general. We show that wild caught shrimp still comprises the majority of what is produced and exported in Brazil, although aquaculture has been taking a relevant role in the internal and external scenario, reaching similar levels of extraction in recent years. Despite some fluctuations in the amount of extracted shrimp, Brazil increased its production from 15,000 tons in 1950 to 80,000 in 2004. The money earned with shrimp product exportation, which includes farmed shrimp as well, followed a similar tendency. Shrimp aquaculture began late in Brazil, in 1974, and grew slowly until 1995, initiating an accelerated growing process; current estimates assume 50,000 people are employed in this activity, producing about 76,000 tons of shrimp every year. Although still incipient in relation to the world shrimp farmed production, Brazil has been assuming a relevant role in South America, yielding 44% of its total production, in 2004. Despite the importance of shrimp to the country, no studies have been conducted to explore the interrelations between the environmental and social consequences of such unplanned aquaculture growth or uncontrolled wild shrimp fishing. Based on previous observations, conflicts exist between different fishing scales. However, the consequences of shrimp farming on society (displacement from their lands, changes in the life quality, etc.) have not yet been explored. Both activities, shrimp exploitation and aquaculture, deserve better control and structure toward sustainable shrimp fishing and farming.


Brazil Shrimp aquaculture Shrimp exportation Shrimp production 



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Brazilian Environmental Agency


Exclusive Economic Zone



I thank A. Begossi for providing many valuable suggestions and comments. I am indebted to the ‘caiçara’ families from Guarujá for their hospitality during my fieldwork. I also thank Arlaine Francisco and Allan Ferreira for helping in the fieldwork in Guarujá. This work was partially supported by FAPESP (04/07073-4).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Program in EcologyIB/Universidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.FIFO—Fisheries and Food InstituteCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Fisheries Management and Training ProgramPREAC-UNICAMPCampinasBrazil

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