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Shrimp farming in Canavieiras, Brazil


Since 2001, fishermen, seafood collectors and crabs pickers of Canavieiras are suffering from the negative impacts of shrimp farming. Among the main consequences of this activity for local communities are the reduction of fish and crustaceans in the region; the contamination of rivers and mangroves; threats; violence and attempts at intimidation against fishermen and their families. In addition, there are reports of diseases among farm workers, arising from the Metabisulphite contamination, handled without personal protective equipment (PPE).The first complaints relating to these issues were published in 2002, when six associations of fishermen of Canavieiras denounced the high fish, shellfish and crabs kills as a result of the activities of local shrimp farms.

In June 5, 2006, after four years of struggle and mobilizations, the Federal Government created the marine extractive reserve (RESEX) of Canavieiras, with 100,645.85 hectares where access and use rights for fishing were allocated to local groups or communities. About 80% of the RESEX is formed by sea, and 20%, by mangroves, rivers and small coastal islands. The latter represent 3% of the area, and are used by fishermen as shelter or stopping points.

According to the Rede MangueMar, the municipality of Canavieiras began in July 2007 a campaign against the RESEX. This campaign had the support of local merchants and businessmen linked to shrimp farming. The citys proposal was to turn the RESEX in an environmental protection area (APA).

The creation of the extractive reserve has not put an end to the conflict; on the contrary, in some ways, it ihas ntensified. Shortly after the creation of the Deliberative Council of the RESEX, in 2009, vessels belonging to the community of Campinho were burned by people opposed to the reserve.

In addition to the violence, fishermen and gatherers of Canavieiras still must deal with the tardiness of the federal bureaucracy. Although created in 2006, the reserve still remains without the signature of the contract for granting the right to use (CCDRU) with the Union, which consolidates and regulates the possession of the community on the land and on the sea and that ensures access to policies directed for local sustainable extraction.

Basic Data

NameShrimp farming in Canavieiras, Brazil
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific Commodities

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsCurrently 14 shrimp farms still operate in the region.

Project Area (in hectares)100000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date2002
Company Names or State EnterprisesEquabras Auüicultura e Tecnologia Ltda.
Relevant government actorsInstituto Chico Mendes de Biodiversidade - ICMBIO;, Instituto Nacional de Colonizacao e Reforma Agraria - IBAMA, Ministerio do Meio Ambiente - MMA
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersColonia de Pesca Z20;, Associacao dos Pescadores de Puxim do Sul;, Associacao dos Pescadores e Agricultores de Campinhos – APAC;, Associacao de Pescadores e Marisqueiras de Atalaia - APEMA;, Associacao de Pescadores e Agricultores de Puxim da Praia - AMPP;, Associacao de Pescadores e Marisqueiras de Oiticica;, Associacao de Moradores, Pescadores e Marisqueiras de Barra Velha

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
seafood collectors; crab pickers;
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Land demarcation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Local communities remain threatened by shrimp farming.

Sources and Materials


SENADO FEDERAL. DECRETO DE 5 DE JUNHO DE 2006. Dispoe sobre a criacao da Reserva Extrativista de Canavieiras, localizada nos Municipios de Canavieiras, Belmonte e Una, Estado da Bahia, e da outras providencias. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 05 nov. 2008.


MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Ameacas de morte e de perda de emprego de familiares sao utilizados para oprimir a populacao e desmontar a Reserva Extrativista de Canavieiras. Available at: Acesso em: 22 abr. 2013.


EM defesa das Reservas Extrativistas da Prainha do Canto Verde/Ceara e de Canavieiras/Bahia. Combate ao Racismo Ambiental, 05 dez. 2010. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 16 abr. 2013.

FAUSTINO, Cris e PACHECO, Tania. BLOG ESPECIAL: Na Reserva Extrativista de Canavieiras, Bahia, a comunidade aguarda, ansiosa, a acao de Lula contra a as ameaças da politica corrupta e do capital degradador. Combate ao Racismo Ambiental, 05 dez. 2010. Disp

FREITAS, Sérgio; RODRIGUES, Jaqueline e DUTRA, Guilherme. Atentado destroi embarcacao comunitaria em Canavieiras. Conservacao Internacional Brasil, 22 mai. 2009. Acesso em: 16 abr. 2013.

Meta Information

ContributorDiogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014