Brazilian Lobster

Brazilian Lobster

Fishery Improvement Project

Last Update: October 2019


  • Red lobster (Panulirus argus)
  • Green lobster (Panulirus laevicauda)

FIP Stage according to CASS progress table: 4, FIP is delivering improvement in policies or practices

FIP Rating according to SFP rating tool: B (Good Progress, Jul 2019)

FIP Rating according to MSC benchmarking tool: Initial (Jan 2012-3): 0.26; Second (Jan 2014): 0.26; Third (Jan 2015): 0.25; Fourth (Jan 2016): 0.36; Fifth (Jan 2017): 0.38; Sixth (Jan 2018): 0.39; Current (Jan 2019): 0,39

[* CeDePesca update and translated the original scores of this FIP (set against the MSC standard v1.3) to the MSC standard v2.0. The rationale for the setting of scores for the updated performance indicators is show here].

Fishery Location: Northeast coast of Brazil. See map below.

FIP Coordination: If you would like more information about the FIP or if you wish to support it, please contact Rochelle Cruz.

FIP Partners:

Sustainability InformationCaribbean spiny lobster – Western Central Atlantic

Publicly Announced Date: 2012

Current Improvement Recommendations:

  • Adopt a mandatory ‘live-lobster’ delivery policy to processing plants in order to reduce fishing effort and improve product quality.
  • Establish fixed landing points and control points for lobster.
  • Build accurate traceability through a catch certification system in order to minimize illegal fishing.
  • Prohibit the domestic trade of lobster during the four-month closure season in order to reduce fishing mortality of juveniles.
  • Fully implement the monitoring and research plan.
  • Continue with the annual stock assessment and establish limit and target reference points.
  • Establish a management system based on output limits (TAC) instead of on effort limits (number of traps).


The two lobster species, Panulirus argus (red lobster, or lagosta-vermelha in Portuguese) and Panulirus laevicauda (green lobster, or lagosta-verde in Portuguese), represent the most important fishing resources of the coastlines of northern and northeastern Brazil. The fishery exports mainly to the US market, with an average worth 60 million USD per year, and can provide for the livelihood of more than 15,000 fishers.

Unfortunately, largely due to a failure to apply timely management tools and inadequate enforcement, the fishery has faced mortality levels above those scientifically recommended for a long time.

On the other hand, landings have remained relatively stable despite an increase in effort and four decades of constant geographical expansion of fishing grounds, and along the last few years the exports trend has decreased, which are signs of stock overexploitation.

Since 2002, the Brazilian government has been making attempts to change management practices in this fishery. Through the project “Promoting sustainable, resource efficient agri-food supply chains” (April 2009–October 2010), the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Federal University of Ceará, represented by the Institute of Marine Sciences (LABOMAR), had been working in partnership to develop a set of recommendations to promote sustainable management practices for the Brazilian spiny lobster fishery and its supply chain.

Although not all of the project terms of reference had been fulfilled completely, results of the first studies related to the aforementioned project were presented on October 14 and 15, 2010, in Fortaleza (state of Ceará), during an International Workshop on the Spiny Lobster Supply Chain.

At this workshop, the MPA, LABOMAR, and UNEP welcomed international experts, civil society organizations, representatives of the fishers, and local and international supply chain actors.

Among the conclusions that arose from this workshop were the following:

  • Brazil has the opportunity to produce a quality, sustainable product instead of the commodity that is currently produced and exported.
  • The demand for sustainable, certified spiny lobster is growing while the supply is so far very limited. From the meetings with European importers and traders, it seems that an eco-certification may be a serious competitive advantage for the Brazilian fishery.
  • Failure by Brazil to quickly launch and communicate a meaningful fishery improvement project (FIP) for lobster may cost producers a significant future share of the US market.

In order to get this FIP launched, UNEP entered in a partnership with CeDePesca in 2011.  CeDePesca began coordinating the improvement work in the field with local industry, fishers, the government of Ceará, the now-defunct (as of 2016) Ministry of Fisheries (MPA), the Ministry of Environment, and other local stakeholders.

At the time, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, an international NGO, agreed with CeDePesca to work with its major buyer and supplier partners to support the improvement efforts.

By August 2011, CeDePesca applied and got funds from the Resources Legacy Fund to contract a pre-assessment against the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council and these were the results:

  • No official stock assessment had been performed since 2006. The last one showed the stock as overfished, so a recovery plan is needed.
  • Neither adequate limit nor adequate target biological reference points had been set.
  • A harvest strategy exists, but it is based on number of traps and monitoring has been deficient since 2006, therefore presumably the strategy is failing.
  • Existing rules about effort limits are not realistic because they are established as “trap equivalent” quantities and there is no official calculation for these equivalences with nets and diving, which are largely used instead of traps and also are not legal. Therefore, there is no means of verification.
  • The main trouble in meeting requirements of MSC Principle 2 (impacts on the environment) is the lack of information about the impacts on other retained species (lobsters, octopus, and some small fish), discarded species (small fish), and the seabed.
  • The legal framework is generally acceptable but lacks specific goals and clear instruments.
  • The Lobster Management Commission (CGPL) could potentially do good work, but had not been effective since 2004.
  • CGPL has long-term explicit objectives, but the precautionary approach is just implicit and there are no short-term goals.
  • The decision-making process at CGPL, though participatory, is not quickly responsive and is not publicly documented.
  • No research plan was currently in place.
  • The management system conducts no regular self-evaluation of performance.

Along 2012, CeDePesca main efforts were directed at dissemination of these results and in trying to get the support of the Brazilian government, while conducting negotiations with Ceará exporters to build an industry-driven FIP.

In 2013, efforts were directed at designing a private second-party verification program in order to ensure traceability for legally caught Brazilian lobster.

Since 2013, as previously agreed with UNEP and after many onths of negotiations, the local exporters association, SINDFRIO, took over the projet in association with CeDePesca.

FIP Objectives:

  • Achieve a mandatory live-lobster delivery policy, so that lobsters are delivered alive to processing plants.
  • Achieve the adoption of mandatory landing points and control points as the basis for an accurate catch certificate program.
  • Achieve the prohibition of domestic lobster trade during the four-month closure season.
  • Improve the work of the Management Commission for Lobster (CGPL).
  • Collaborate in achieving the full implementation of the monitoring and research plan.
  • Continue to conduct annual stock assessments and recommending TACs.
  • Define and propose adequate limit and target reference points for lobster.
  • Achieve the adoption of output limits (TAC).

Progress Update


January – March 2012

Bureau Veritas completed an MSC pre-assessment in January.

A workshop, held in Boston in March, encouraged agreements between Brazilian producers and US importers to support the FIP. At the meeting, participants were informed of the results of the pre-assessment and drafted an improvement workplan. Six important US importers decided to be part of the FIP.

April – June 2012

A meeting with Brazilian exporters in Fortaleza, held in May, discussed the findings of the MSC pre-assessment, and the characteristics of the FIP were explained in detail. As a result, all Brazilian exporters decided to enter into the FIP.

A meeting with the Secretary of Fisheries Management at MPA (Flavio Bezerra) and collaborators was held in Brasilia in May to discuss the findings of the MSC pre-assessment and improvements needed. At this meeting it was also agreed that LABOMAR should present to the MPA a project to organize a monitoring system for the lobster fishery.

A meeting with the Secretary of Biodiversity at MMA (Roberto Cavalcanti) and collaborators was held in Brasilia in May to discuss the findings of the MSC pre-assessment and improvements needed.

July – September 2012

In July, a meeting between Brazilian exporters and CeDePesca staff resolved that all companies would become affiliated with SINDFRIO (industry association) and would sign a formal agreement with CeDePesca to take a very proactive role in the FIP. This goal was expected to be accomplished by the end of 2012.

October – December 2012

In November, LABOMAR sent the monitoring project to MPA, whose budget was requested by the Ministry of Fisheries to the Federal Budget Office to be included for fiscal year 2013.


January – March 2013

In January, SINDFRIO leaders had an interview with the Secretary of Fisheries of Ceará, Ricardo Campos, to request news in regard to the monitoring plan. The answer was that the Secretary would talk to the State Governor to include the topic in the agenda of a meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries.

In February, a formal FIP agreement was signed between SINDFRIO and CeDePesca to “encourage, help, identify and put underway concrete improvements for the lobster fishery in order to obtain a certifiable status against the MSC standards and continue to implement improvements with the goal to attain a score of 80 for each performance indicator as assessed by the MSC.”

In March, CeDePesca started tasks in the field to put in place a second-party verification program through a plan of visits to fishing communities to detect those fishers operating with legal gears (traps) and to obtain market recognition for their products.

Also in March, the Federal Budget is to be approved by the Brazilian Congress, including the financial resources for the lobster monitoring plan.

April – June 2013

In April, SINDFRIO participated at SCC and CGPL meetings and made some propositions aligned with the improvement plan, although the CGPL meeting was suspended.

In May, four companies within SINDFRIO (see list above) agreed, through a Letter of Intention, to constitute a common brand to support the traceability efforts and to create a common brand for legally caught lobster. Since this letter was signed, FIP participants were limited to those agreeing with this commitment.

In June, the Rural Federal University of Pernambuco (UFRPE) was granted a budget by the National Commission of Research to update the Brazilian lobster stock assessment; and the Monitoring Department Director at MPA, Sergio Mattos, announced that the MPA would be sending money (350,000 USD) for the Monitoring Project to the Research Institute (LABOMAR) by the end of July.

Also in June, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment – Ceará branch (IBAMA-CE) was allocated with a strengthened budget for enforcement (400,000 USD) and for monitoring (125,000 USD) targeting the lobster fishery. [Nevertheless, by September the money had not yet been wired.]

In regards to the Traceability Program, Bureau Veritas conducted the first site visit and issued the first report in order to build a traceability system for legally caught lobster.

July – September 2013

In August, IBAMA suffered budget cuts by the federal government, affecting enforcement activities for the lobster fishery close to the end of the season.

In September, Bureau Veritas drafted and delivered a set of documents (Specification Conditions, Evaluation and Compliance of Brand, and Inspection Reports and Audits), constituents of the two initial phases of the Traceability Program.

Throughout the quarter, the Rural Federal University of Pernambuco (UFRPE), in cooperation with IBAMA, continued developing the stock assessment of green and red lobsters by retrieving frequency distributions, catch and effort by type of fishing (boat type and fishing method), and exports per commercial category.

Throughout the quarter, IBAMA-CE drafted agreements containing terms of cooperation with state municipalities and the Federal Institute of Ceará (IFCE) for operationalization of the lobster monitoring project, and worked on data collection at Acaraú, Paracuru, Fortaleza, and Beberibe municipalities in the State of Ceará.

In September, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA) signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) for 350.000 USD to conduct a Lobster Monitoring Project driven by the Research Institute (LABOMAR).

October – December 2013

In November, Bureau Veirtas completed the second phase (Constitution of Reference) of the Traceability Program. The third phase (Validation) is expected to be implemented in June 2014.

In November, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture did send funds (350.000 USD) for the Lobster Monitoring Project to the UFC.

In December, the Federal Government launched a Program to Combat Illegal Fishing in the country, as a coordinated effort by the ministries of Fisheries, Environment, Defense, Justice, the Navy and the Federal Police.

Also in December, six more companies agreed to become part of the FIP.


January – March 2014

In January 2014, the three founding FIP companies joined with three newcomers, and signatory members of the FIP decided to make a financial contribution for the continuation of the FIP and to collaborate with IBAMA-Ceará to rebuild a database for the last 8 years.

At a meeting held in January 2014, SINDIPESCA-Rio Grande do Norte expressed its will to become part of the FIP. Negotiations are open.

Along February 2014, SINDFRIO-CE held conversations with MPA high level officials to commit them with the development of the FIP. In February 2014, SINDFRIO’s funds for the development of the FIP were received.

In March 2014, exporters started providing annual exports data per commercial size category.  The data was collected and systematized by CeDePesca and provided to IBAMA-Ceará.

In March, a contribution from Sea Pact and another from Mark Foods were received in order to continue with the traceability program.

April – June 2014

In April, SINDFRIO and CeDePesca participated of stakeholders’ meetings in the State of Ceará to discuss management measures for the lobster fishery and a document was sent to MPA and MMA authorities in Brasilia asking for a TAC and for better enforcement and monitoring.

In June, Bureau Veritas auditors conducted a new site visit to fishing communities in order to finalize Phase B (Verification) of the Program. Subsequently, ithe Control Plan document will be turned and Phase C will begin.

In June, the Federal Public Ministry and Ministry of Labor have required to the MPA that annual licenses for lobster should be given only after inspections demonstrate that vessels are using traps. The topic will be discussed at a public hearing scheduled for July 2014.

Throughout the quarter, exports data per commercial size continued to be collected and digitalized in order to be used in a stock assessment.

July – September 2014

In July, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and the Ministry of Labor (MPT) held a public hearing and recommended that the MPA should perform inspections of lobster vessels and publish the list of those legalized for the exercise of fishing activity.  During the quarter, the collection and digitalization of annual exports dataper commercial size continued in order to be used in the assessment of stocks.

Throughout the quarter, IBAMA-CE worked in the operationalization of fishing monitoring on the coast of Ceará, in cooperation with the State’s municipalities and Federal Institutes, and data collection has started.

In September, an addendum to the Term of Cooperation for the decentralization of credit between the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Federal University of Ceará was published for the implementation of the project “Monitoring of Lobster Fishing” in the amount of R$705.960 (USD 300,000).

October – December 2014

In October, digitalization of exports data provided by SINDFRIO was completed.  CeDePesca did a preliminary analysis which shows a very fragile situation of the stocks, which are below a limit reference point, and shows the need for urgent intervention to reduce fishing effort in order to rebuild them (See the report here). This document will be used to discuss a management plan for the fishery with the new fishing authorities. The raw data is also available here.

By the end of the year, SINDFRIO and CeDePesca renewed the agreement to continue with the FIP in 2015. The priority will be keeping the database and the stock assessment updated, and working with the government to get the necessary management reforms.


January – March 2015

Along this quarter, CeDePesca has been actively working with US importers and Bureau Veritas to start running the Traceability Program when the fishing season begins in June.

In February, the Associação Pesca Sustentável de Icapuí (Sustainable Fishing Association of Icapuí, APS) was legally constituted in Icapuí, Ceará, with a membership of fishers that use traps only. This association, comprised of 40 artisanal boats, will be working on the traceability program with CeDePesca.

In March, the brand and logo of the traceability program has been legally registered.

In March, at the Boston Seafood Show, there was a new meeting of FIP partners, including Brazilian exporters, US importers and retailers to approve the next steps of the project.

Also in March, there was a meeting between SINDFRIO, CeDePesca, the Minister and the Secretary of Fisheries from Brazil to present the FIP, the outcomes of the pre-assessment and the stock assessment, the activities and goals of the FIP and to coordinate further actions. The high Brazilian officials that attended the meeting were very keen to this coordination and to solve some of the crucial problems of the fishery, including an operative Management Plan. New discussions will be held in April.

April – June 2015

In April, a meeting of CeDePesca with the Secretary of Fisheries Management ratified the need for adopting measures such as making mandatory the delivery of live lobsters into processing plants, prohibiting local trade of lobster during the closure season, and a management system based on a TAC.

In May, CeDePesca participated of the meeting of the Scientific Subcommittee where the outcomes of the stock assessment were presented, together with a similar one from the chairperson of the Subcommitee. The management proposals coming from the FIP were presented and approved as recommendations to the Management Committee.

In June, the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL) met for the first time in one year and agreed to adopt two very important measures: lobster must be delivered alive to processing plants as of 2017, and domestic trade of lobster during the closure season will be strongly limited. The adoption of a TAC was approved but the implementation was posponed to a further meeting.

July – September 2015

Along this quarter, CeDePesca has been working with data from the exporters at SINDFRIO to update the stock assessment.

In September, the CGPL ratified the measures adopted in June and discussed further adoption of others such as heavy punishment for violations, a quota system, catch certificate and mandatory landing points to be approved in a November meeting.

October-December 2015

In October, the federal government announced the replacement of the Ministry of Fisheries by a Secretariat of Fisheries within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food. This measure, not complemented yet with an approved new structure, has delayed all the previous work in a context of political and economical difficulties for the country. With the expectation that this delay will be solved within the next few months, the FIP partners are discussing further steps.

In the meantime, the red lobster stock assessment was updated by CeDePesca with the 2013 and 2014 exports data provided by SINDFRIO.  The assessment was released to the public in December 2015 (see progress table for a link to the report).


January – March 2016

During this quarter, the final report on the FIP’s 2015 activities was presented to and approved by SINDFRIO.  Negotiations regarding the extension of the FIP agreement continued.

On March 8th, during the Boston’s Seafood Expo North America, SINDFRIO signed the renewal of the FIP Agreement for 2016, and Tequesta Bay Foods renewed its support for the FIP.

The new agreement signed with SINDFRIO, includes the creation of a Scientific Advisory Committee for the FIP, to be formed by researches from the University of Ceará.  The objectives for 2016 are to continue promoting improvements within the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery, including measures regarding the adoption of a TAC-based system, the prohibition of selling lobsters in the domestic market during the closure season, the requirement of bringing live lobsters to the processing plants, and the implementation of mandatory landing/control points to improve traceability.

The renewal of the agreement shows the FIP partners’ determination to continue advancing in improvement actions, despite political and economic turmoil in Brazil and recent setbacks suffered by fishery management institutions.

April – June 2016

SINDFRIO provided exports data for the 2015 fishing season, and the stock assessment is being updated by CeDePesca.  The report will include management recommendations for the 2016 season and it is expected to be released to the public in July 2016.

From May 2nd to May 5th, CeDePesca and the Associação Pesca Sustentável de Icapuí (APS – Sustainable Fishing Association of Icapuí) participated at the APAS Trade Show, which gathers together supermarket chains from Brazil with the aim of promoting networking.  CeDePesca and APS’ small stand at the show that took place in the city of Sao Paulo, received a lot of attention and visitors showed interest in the FIP and its traceability program.

On May 5th, a meeting was held with ABRASEL, the Brazilian Restaurants and Bars Association.  CeDePesca and APS explained the objectives of the FIP and its traceability program, and ABRASEL expressed a strong interest in supporting work with fishing communities.  Exchanges regarding the signature of a collaboration agreement are now taking place between CeDePesca and ABRASEL.

From June 14th to June 17th, CeDePesca and APS participated of FISPAL (the restaurants show held in Sao Paulo) with a small booth within the space of ABRASEL, to disseminate the FIP and its traceability program among the domestic market.  This is part of the FIP’s effort to involve the gastronomy sector in the project.  Also, CeDePesca made a presentation on the characteristics of the global sustainable seafood movement, the traits of certification processes and the need for developing FIPs for Brazilian fisheries.  The audience consisted of specialized public.

Finally, during this quarter, CeDePesca has also became a founder member of the Brazilian Alliance for Sustainable Seafood, that together with other NGOs, private sector enterprises, aquariums and fisher organizations will be collectively pushing to get sustainable fisheries in the country.

July – September 2016

In late July, CeDePesca issued its third update of the stock assessment for Brazilian lobster (see link in Detailed Progress table at the end of this report).  Prior to the final version, feedback was received from Brazilian researchers: Carlos Tassito Ivo, Jose Augusto Aragao and Adauto Fonteles-Filho.  Professor Fonteles-Filho has recently passed away, and therefore the document is dedicated to him.

In summary, the analysis shows that:

– Fishing mortality has continued its descendant trend, although it is still considered high: It was estimated at 0.851 for 2015, while it was 0.890 in 2014 and 1.008 in 2013.

– The reproductive biomass was estimated at 10.4 thousand metric tons for 2015, slightly above the 2014 level estimated at 10.1 thousand mt (for 2013, the estimated level was estimated at 9.9 thousand mt, so there is an increasing trend, albeit slow).

– The ratio between the current reproductive biomass level and the level that would be attained if fishing were to cease is 19%; below the proposed limit reference point (20%) and the proposed target reference point (40%).

– The projections that were conducted as part of this study show that if current measures and current recruitment levels remain the same, in the long term the stock will not grow past its limit reference point.

Given this situation, the document contains several suggestions for the recovery of Brazilian lobster: The adoption of a Total Allowable Catch of 4700 mt of whole red lobster and 1000 mt of whole green lobster, or their equivalent in tails, during the next five years (this is called a constant catch management strategy); the adoption of a live lobster policy with a 5% tolerance in processing plants; mandatory landing control points; real-time monitoring of the fishery production at processing plants in order to give adequate notice of the closing of the fishery when 80% of the TAC has been achieved; and, the prohibition to possess, transport or commercialize lobster in the domestic market during the closure period.

In August, CeDePesca met with the President and the Director of Ceará’s Kitchen Chefs Association, Mr. Luciano Ferreira and Mrs. Jane Alves to share information about the FIP and the Traceability Program, and to involve the gastronomic sector in the project.  Mr. Ferreira and Mrs. Alves agreed to holding a workshop in December with CeDePesca and the Assocation’s members, so they can be shown the results of the analyses that show the status of the stocks and to discuss possible solutions to their sustainability and possible ways in which the Association could be of help.

In September, CeDePesca delivered a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food in Ceará to be forwarded to the Secretary of Aquaculture and a Fisheries, Mr. Dayvson Franklin de Souza.  The document explains the current status of the lobster stocks as derived from the stock assessments conducted using exports data for the period 2004-2015 provided by SINDFRIO. The document also asks for the continuity of the work that had been developed by the now defunct Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2015, as well as the resuming of the work conducted by the Scientific Subcommittee and the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL).

Also in September, CeDePesca facilitated the participation of SINDFRIO at the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress held from September 1st to September 10th in Hawaii.  SINDFRIO participated of a Knowledge Café organized by CeDePesca and other IUCN members, where the Red List methodologies and their applicability to aquatic species were discussed together with alternatives to strengthen, expand and improve initiatives targeting marine sustainability obstacles in South America.

Also during this quarter, CeDePesca continued to coordinate the Traceability Program in Icapuí together with the APS.  The Traceability Program’s aim is to help organize, differentiate and benefit those fishers who use legal fishing gear for catching lobster.

October – December 2016

In October, CeDePesca sent a letter to the Brazilian Association of Fishing Industries (ABIPESCA) presenting the results of the stock assessment conducted with exports data provided by SINDFRIO.  ABIPESCA had been asking for the reduction of the closure period, and CeDePesca’s letter aimed to show why keeping the six-month closure period is crucial to avoid the collapse of the fishery.  CeDePesca also seized the opportunity to once again invite ABIPESCA to become part of the FIP and to invite them to contribute with further data to increase the robustness of stock assessments.

Also in October, CeDePesca received an invitation to participate from SeaPact’s Seafood Legacy 2nd Annual Business Conference.  The conference was held in Tokyo, Japan, on November 11th.  CeDePesca presented the story of the Traceability Program that is being developed with fishing communities of Icapuí.  This Program’s setup phase -that included the creation of the APS (trap-fishers association) and the development of an audit protocol- begun in 2013 and was completed in mid-2015 thanks to SeaPact’s funding commitment.  As of June 2015, the Program, under implementation by CeDePesca and the APS, has been successfully running with support from Icapel (member of SINDFRIO) and Tequesta Bay Foods.

In December, CeDePesca held the I Workshop on Sustainable Lobster, in conjunction with the Ceará Kitchen Chefs Association (ACC). During the workshop, the sustainability of the lobster fishery was discussed and an exchange took place on ways to involve the gastronomic sector in the FIP.

Also in December, CeDePesca met with SINDFRIO to discuss the extension of the FIP Agreement.   Negotiations will continue during the next quarter, with the aim of signing a new agreement and submit a work plan for the year 2017.

Also during this quarter, the Traceability Program ended the 2016 fishing season having received 20 metric tons of lobster at its Control Point in Redonda, a production 5 times higher that that of the 2015 fishing season.


January – March 2017

The fourth update of CeDePesca’s stock assessment for Brazilian lobster was completed in late February.

In March, the Brazilian federal government announced that the Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture will be moved from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAPA) to the Ministry of Industry, Development and Commerce (MDIC).  Unfortunately, this measure once again sets back the efforts made with the Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture, until the new bureaucratic structure is set.

In March, during the Seafood Expo North America in Boston, SINDFRIO confirmed the renewal of the FIP agrement for 2017.  Also at the expo, CeDePesca and SINDFRIO met with Mr. Dayvson Franklin de Souza, Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries, who committed to resuming the work of the Scientific Subcommittee and the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL).

April – June 2017

On May 16th, the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL) was reconvened in Brasilia as promised by the Secretary of Aquaculture and Fisheries.  CeDePesca was formally invited to this meeting and we collaborated with the Secretariat to ensure that the last meeting minutes were available to all members.  In summary, the meeting served to update new representatives to the CGPL on previous meetings and to ratify the topics to be discussed at the next meeting which will take place in August 2017.  In particular: (a) discussions on the ban of domestic transportation and marketing of fresh or frozen lobster during the fishery’s closure seasons will resume during the next CGPL meeting; (b) discussions on the obligation to deliver live lobsters to production plants as a way to effectively contribute to the use of legal fishing gear (traps) and on ways to strengthen the control and inspection of lobster landings will also be resumed; and, (c) the Scientific Subcommittee will be asked to pronunce itself on the establishment of a maximum annual production quota.  During the meeting, CeDePesca’s fourth stock assessment was used to convey the situation of the lobster fishery.

On the other hand, CeDePesca filed an official request to MAPA to formally participate from the CGPL.

Also in May and June, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Fishing and Aquaculture of the state of Ceará (SEAPA) requested more information regarding the Traceability Program that has been implemented with fishing communities of Icapuí as part of this FIP and with direct support from Icapel (member of SINDFRIO) and Tequesta Bay Foods.  SINDFRIO had requested the state government’s support for the FIP, and there is interest from the state in determining the viability of replicating the Traceability Program in other communities as a way of encouraging the use of legal fishing gear.

July – September 2017

In August, the Scientific Subcommittee (SCC) of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL) was reconvened, and CeDePesca was formally invited to attend.  CeDePesca presented its latest stock assessment of Brazilian lobster and results were found to be similar to those from the assessment conducted by IBAMA.  During the meeting, the SCC discussed the importance of urgently reinstating monitoring activities to support the decision-making process and requested that the matter be subject of discussions at the next CGPL meeting.

Also during this quarter, coordination continued with the Secretariat of Agriculture, Fishing and Aquaculture of the state of Ceará (SEAPA) regarding the state’s interest in replicating the experience of this FIP’s Traceability Program to other communities in the state.  A collaboration agreement is being discussed to be signed by SEAPA, SINDFRIO and CeDePesca.

In addition, conversations have taken place with IBAMA-CE on the possibility of collaborating in the digitalization of fishing data collected from fishing vessels under 10m length.

October – December 2017

In October, the Senate approved a provisional measure linking the Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture to the office of the Presidency of the Republic.  As of March 2017, the Secretariat had been under the Ministry of Industry, Development and Commerece.  On November 3rd, the law transferring the Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture to the office of the Presidency was sanctioned by the President, granting it Ministry status.

On October 19th, the Government of the State of Ceará, through its Secretariat of Agriculture, Fishing and Aquaculture (SEAPA), SINDFRIO and CeDePesca signed a Collaboration Agreement to implement a project aimed at further developing and improving the live lobster production chain in Ceará and its traceability.

In November, CeDePesca was formally invited to participle in the 9th Ordinary Session of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL) that took place on December 12nd and 13th.

During the CGPL meeting, the following management measures promoted by this FIP were approved: (a) adoption, as of 2019, of a manegement system based on a Total Allowable Catch of 4,000 metric tons for red lobster and 900 metric tons of green lobster; (b) prohibition of the marketing of lobster in the domestic market during the last 4 months of the fishery closure, and (c) as from 2019, lobster must be delivered alive to processing plants. This measure will help to reduce fishing effort and will encorauge the use of legal fishing gear (traps). In addition, the monitoring of landings will resume in 2018.  In addition, it was decided that a working group is to be formed, of which CeDePesca will also be part, to define implementation and control mechanisms for the measures.

Also during this period, CeDePesca visited the Control Point at Redonda to collect data corresponding to the Traceability Program.  The Control Point received around 10 metric tons of lobster during the 2017 fishing season.  The data is being digitalized for its analysis.


January – March 2018             

In February, the working group for the quota, which was constituted at the 9th Ordinary Session of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL) and of which CeDePesca is also a member, met for the first time to discuss the mechanisms for implementation and control of a Total Allowable Catch of 4,000 metric tons for red lobster and 900 metric tons of green lobster. During the meeting, it was decided that the control will be carried out according to the entrances of lobster in the processing plants.

In March, during the Seafood Expo North America in Boston, CeDePesca met with SINDFRIO where the progress of the FIP was discussed and SINDFRIO confirmed the renewal of the agreement for 2018.

April – June 2018

In April, CeDePesca was invited to attend the 10th Ordinary Session of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL), scheduled to take place initially in May. After some changes of dates, due to the transition from the MDIC Secretariat of Fisheries to the Presidency, the meeting took place on June 12th and 13th.

In summary, during the CGPL meeting, it was decided that the quota working group will meet for the second time in July 2018 to follow up the discussions and establish mechanisms to control the quota and close the harvest for its implementation from of 2019. Minutes of Interministerial Ordinances were discussed and approved, stating that: (a) it is prohibited to exercise lobster fishing annually from November 1 to April 30; (b) as from 2019, the marketing of lobster in the domestic market in the last 3 months of the fishery closure be prohibited; and (c) as from 2020, the receipt of live lobster only at processing plants becomes mandatory.

July – September 2018

In July, the working group for the quota met for the second time to discuss the mechanisms for implementation and control of a Total Allowable Catch. In summary, it was defined that: (a) control will be by entry into the companies; (b) data will be entered into the system twice a week; (c) 2 alerts will be issued stating that the quota is close to being reached, before closing the fishing season; (d) a Follow-up Group will be formed to support the whole process; (e) the idea of using the value of 4900 tons as a general quota for the two species of lobster will be forwarded to the CGP.

The fifth update of CeDePesca’s stock assessment for Brazilian lobster was completed in August.

In September, the Interministerial Ministerial Minutes approved at the last meeting of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL), with deadline for publication until August, had not yet been published.

October – December 2018

In October, in contact with officials of the Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SEAP), they informed that the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) had sent the Regulations to the Secretariat and were waiting to arrive at the Fisheries Planning and Management Coordination so that they could adjust the MMA considerations and then publish.

In November, the CGPL was not convened for a meeting as established at the 10th Ordinary Session of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery in June.

During the year, the Live Lobster Project was not implemented by Secretariat of Agriculture, Fishing and Aquaculture (SEAPA), in accordance with the cooperation agreement signed between the Secretariat, SINDFRIO and CeDePesca, in October 2017.

In December, it was published in the Official Gazette the extinction of SEAPA and its competencies absorbed by the Secretariat of Agrarian Development and the Secretariat of Economic Development and Labor. And it is expected to define the transition of the projects to know which secretrariat will be responsible for the implementation of the Live Lobster Project..

Also in December, the Minutes of Interministerial Ordinances approved at the last meeting of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL), had not yet been published.


January – March 2019

In January 1 st, as a measure of the new Government, a Provisional Measure was published establishing the organization of the Presidency of the Republic and Ministries, with the Special Secret\riat for Aquaculture and Fisheries of the Presidency of the Republic-SEAP reconducted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAPA), as Aquaculture and Fisheries Secretariat-SAP/MAPA. This Ministry being solely responsible for the fisheries management.

In March, the Secretariat of Aquaculture and Fisheries – SAP / MAPA released calendar of meetings of the Standing Management Committees. The Lobster CPG will meet in June and November 2019.   

Also in March, SAP/MAPA announced the priorities of the Secretariat with the aquaculture and fisheries sector, including the restablishment os fisheries monitoring and the strengthening of the Management Committees.

April – June 2019

On April 11, the Brazilian federal government published Decree No. 9,759 extinguishing and establishing guidelines, rules and limitations for collegiate federal public administration. The Decree suspended, as of June 28, all the Permanent Management Committees (CPGs).

In May, CeDePesca was invited to attend the 11th Ordinary Session of the Management Committee for the Lobster Fishery (CGPL), that look place on June 11th and 12th. During the CGPL meeting, a period of 60 days has been established for SAP/MAPA to publish the normative instruction establishing the period of closure and defines the rules for the storage, landing, transport, marketing and processing of lobster species Panulirus argus, Panulirus laevicauda, Panulirus echinatus, Scyllarides brasiliensis, Scyllarides delfosi and Scillarides aequinoctialis in the national territory. In relation to the receipt of lobster in the beneficiation plants, it was not possible to enter into a consensus during the meeting and it will be up to SAP to define whether to allow only live lobster, accepting a perdentage of non-live or being allowed in its entire form. 

Also in May, SINDFRIO confirmed the renewal of the FIP agreement for 2019.

In June, the Secretariat of Aquaculture and Fisheries- SAP/MAPA, it reaffirmed its commitment to the Permanent Management Committees (CPGs), ensuring the environmental and socioeconomic sustainability of the fishing activity and informing that the procedures to recreate them, through Decree, were initiated.

July – September 2019

In August, CeDePesca participated in the 1st Cycle of Lobster Fishing Quota Debates, a forwarding made during the 11th CPG Meeting, which aimed to discuss the system with the fishing communities. The meeting report is available.

In September 5, CeDePesca participated in a meeting with team of the Secretariat of Aquaculture and Fisheries (SAP) in Brasilia. CeDePesca gave a presentation on the lobster fishery in Brazil and explained the resource situation and the management measures proposed by FIP for its recovery. The meeting was very productive and CeDePesca was asked to continue helping them improve the lobster management system in Brazil. During meeting, CeDePesca was informed that the Normative Instruction is being analyzed by the juridicial department and then signed by the authorities and sent for publication. If approved, it becomes mandatory from 2020.

To date, the Permanent Management Committees (CPGs) have not yet been recreated by Secretariat of Aquaculture and Fisheries- SAP/MAPA.