Due to the good results of the last arapaima counting, communities in the municipality of Itamarati remain optimistic in the fight for the homologation of arapaima management in the region

Between November 6 and 14, the third arapaima counting took place in Itamarati, and representatives of the municipality participated in the Leadership Meeting, an exchange of experiences promoted by AMARU.

By Clara Machado and Camila Figueiredo

For arapaima management to be implemented in a new area, it is necessary that the river bodies in that region are under the rules of some kind of fishery regulation. One of the rules to make this management viable is the protection and monitoring of part of the lakes for at least three consecutive years, aiming to guarantee an increase in the number of fish before the fishing years begin.

In general, fishing regulation takes place through the delimitation of areas for specific use and the creation of rules for the use and protection of lakes. If the area is outside the boundaries of conservation units, it is necessary to legalize a Fishing Agreement, which involves all agents interested in using the environments.

About 20 communities in the municipality of Itamarati (AM) are going through this initial process with technical and financial support from Instituto Juruá. The three years of watching the lakes without being able to fish is usually a difficult time for the communities involved, as there is a lot of work without immediate returns. Therefore, it is important to have the perspective that these years will be rewarded in the future when management starts and becomes a source of steady income for the arapaima managers.

Communities in Itamarati believe in this purpose. Between November, 6-14, 2022, pirarucu third counting happened in the lakes of the region. Ninve communities were involved in the counting of twenty lakes. And the number show that the three years vigilance were worth it. 

The communities in Itamarati are resolute in their purpose. Between November 6 and 14, 2022, the third count of arapaima at the lakes in the region took place. There were nine communities involved in the counting at these twenty lakes. And the numbers show that the three years of vigil paid off.

“In 2020, we started working with seven communities, counting at the lakes. In the third counting, in 2022, the interest of the communities in protecting more lakes increased as well as the number of fishes. In this three-year period, the total number of counted fishes is 1,235 and we already have lakes with the capacity to be managed as soon as the Fisheries Agreement is made official”, says Edimar Costa, who is a Sustainable Production Technician at Instituto Juruá and provided technical support to the counting in Itamarati.

The team that counts the lakes getting ready to start working. Photo: Edimar Costa

The counting had the participation of the Environmental Association Extractivists, Fishermen and Rural Producers of Itamarati (AAEPPRI), Municipal Secretary of Environment and Tourism of Itamarati, Colony of Fishermen Z-59 of Itamarati, Instituto Juruá and all the communities involved, with an unprecedented and representative participation of women.

Residents of experienced management communities in the municipality of Carauari also collaborated. “People from the communities of Lago Serrado, Xibauazinho, Xibauá have been doing this work for some time and have vast experience, so we took them to guide and exchange experience and knowledge, encouraging residents of the communities of Itamarati, so that they can feel motivated for this work to grow in their region”, added Edimar.

Women participation during the arapaima counting in Itamarati (AM). Photo: Edimar Costa

Nerinho Santos, president of AAEPPRI, says that the community is excited with the result of the last counting. “This counting was very good, we are optimistic that very soon the management will also be carried out in Itamarati. We are fighting for that to happen. When we protect the lake, there is income, there are banks, there are savings.”

The initiative of the Itamarati communities has the support of experienced grassroots organizations in the Mid-Juruá. The Association of Agroextractive Residents of the Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve (AMARU) invited partners from Itamarati to the Leadership Meeting, held on December 17 and 18, 2022, at the Berta Becker Center in Campina, rural area of Carauari (AM) .

The purpose of the meeting was to promote the management of community leaders. The exchange of experiences with other communities and associations is essential for the successful implementation of community management in Itamarati. At the meeting, there were representatives of three Itamarati communities (Nova Olinda, Walterburi and Cantagalo), the vice-president of AAEPPRI, and young Teves Benevides from the municipality of Itamarati, representing both AAEPPRI and the youth of the municipality.

Teves Benevides representing AAEPPRI and the youth of the municipality of Itamarati at the Leadership Meeting organized by AMARU. Photo: AAEPPRI collection.

We hope that the ratification of this Fisheries Agreement will take place in the first half of this year. “We already have some areas with up to four years of counting. We’re getting back now after the electoral process. We still need to have a collective meeting and the homologation of the Fishing Agreement alongside the Amazonas State Secretariat for the Environment still needs to happen. We hope this happens in the first half of this year”, says Eduardo Von Muhlen, Instituto Juruá’s conservation practices coordinator. He also works with the expansion of arapaima management for Itamarati.  

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