Pirarucu management in a pandemic scenario

By Clara Machado

September is the traditional month for harvesting pirarucu (Arapaima sp.) in the mid-Juruá, but this year some adaptations were necessary to ensure safety during the pandemic. There are an estimated 600 people from rural communities involved in the annual pirarucu harvest, plus 15 members of the technical team. A fishing protocol for the  COVID-19 scenario was discussed  with specialists in order to guarantee safety conditions for all involved, as well as ensuring the highest quality of the harvested fish. The Municipal Health Secretariat and local leaders also participated in the process of consolidating and validating the protocol. Among the new measures, it was decided to test 100% of those in the fishery management team 24 hours before fishing activity commenced, and to create a reserve team in case any positive tests were detected for the novel coronavirus.

Before the fishing activity, the fishers carry out the tests, applied by a technical team from the Municipal Health Department, who also accompanied the fishing teams to assist and monitor the agreed protocol. A network of organizations also participated in the donation of tests and protective masks. Approximately 850 rapid tests for COVID-19 were made available by OPAN and the Municipal Health Secretariat to ensure the testing of all Management participants.

The network of partners, coordinated by the Associação dos produtores rurais de Carauari (ASPROC), has been closely monitoring all the procedures carried out in the frontline, from the testing of the fishers to the fishing and commercialization of arapaima. In this context, we can ensure that this important activity is done in the safest way possible.

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