Verfasst von: Martin Kelting | 21. Juni 2009

Unterstützung für Prainha von höchster Stelle

Soeben folgende Nachricht von René Schärer erhalten:


Bahia, Brazil June 5 (Instituto Terramar, Brazil). On World Environment Day President Lula and Environment Minister Carlos Minc decreed that two more marine protected RESEX areas be created in Cassurubá and Prainha do Canto Verde.

Marine extractivist reserves, a form of marine protected area with defined user rights, are contracted out to the communities that live in the surrounding area. They are an adaptation of the “Reservas Extrativistas” or RESEX, a novel and unique partnership in natural resource extraction and conservation that Brazil has been experimenting with since 1989. The two new marine protected areas decreed by President Lula are marine RESEX.

RESEX were created due to the pressure from the movement lead by Chico Mendes in the eighties. Chico Mendes and the rubber-tapper union leaders argued that the forest was worth more standing up than cut down. Although Chico Mendes was assassinated by a landowner, the law that created the RESEX is his legacy.

Extractive reserves are created on the demands of traditional and indigenous communities with the objective of using public land to extract natural resources in a sustainable way, thereby preserving both the natural environment and the local culture and traditions. The state concedes user rights on these lands for 30 years with the option to extend the concession permanently after that. The federal government through the environmental agency, called the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity, assists the community in the task of developing a sustainable management plan. Thus it is the community that determines the way it will explore and use the resource potentials, with financial support and government assistance to enforce the local laws. Besides nature conservation the objectives are to guarantee human rights and to improve the populations quality of life

Brazil today has less than 10 marine protected areas covering less then 0,5 % of the ocean, far below the commitments of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sustainable Development Conference in Johannesburg (WSSD) to protect 10 %. The community of Prainha do Canto Verde is known internationally for its activism against real estate speculation and IUU fishing, as well as for providing leadership of Brazil’s Fisher Movement and its affiliation with ICSF.

Since 1993 fishers from the community have been demanding recognition of their human rights, including their access rights to marine resources (spiny lobsters) and to the sea, the right to use public land for their settlements, and the right to participate in fisheries management and tourism development policy decision taking processes that affect them.

In 2006 the Brazil Superior Court ended a 17 year legal battle between fishers and a real estate company over ownership of the beach where fishers had settled in around 1870. Today 1,044 people comprising fishers, women, retired folks and children from 200 families tend to the land of Prainha do Canto Verde exploiting the rich, but dwindling lobster and reef fishery resources, developing agro-ecology for subsistence, and engaging in handicraft and arts production, and community tourism. Prainha has pioneered community-based tourism in Brazil. The reserve comprises 252 square km of ocean and 660 hectares of land area.

Marine reserves in Brazil are important instruments for fisheries management, certification of origin and fair trade, responsible tourism development, playing an important role in integrated coastal management. The lobster fishery of Prainha do Canto Verde went through pre-assessment for MSC certification in 2000, but failed due to the lack of data on the fishery and poor management by the government. With fishers having better control over their area, they can now try once more.

Environment Minister Carlos Minc compared RESEX to land reform, guaranteeing as it does the access of fishers, children and grandchildren to the environment and to mangroves. He concluded: “If the government fails to act this way, the rich will take over, build resorts and golf courses and the fishers will move to the slums in the cities”.

On World Environment Day President Lula also signed decrees to create the Marine RESEX of Cassurubá in the state of Bahia and two land based protected areas. He also presented legislation that will introduce the payment for environmental services performed by organized communities.

Information provided by Instituto Terramar, Brazil,

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