Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Nat Con 2014;12:118-23 DOI: 10.1016/j.ncon.2014.09.004
Research Letters
Landings of goliath grouper, Epinephelus itajara, in Brazil: despite prohibited over ten years, fishing continues
Vinicius J. Giglioa,, , Áthila A. Bertoncinib,c, Beatrice P. Ferreirad, Maurício Hostim-Silvac,e, Matheus O. Freitasc,f
a Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, RJ,, Brazil
b Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas (Biodiversidade Neotropical), Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
c Instituto Meros do Brasil, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
d Departamento de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil
e Centro Universitário Norte do Espírito Santo, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, São Mateus, ES, Brazil
f Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Received 30 December 2013, Accepted 20 August 2014

The goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara, a threatened fish has been protected from fishing in Brazil since 2002. However, poaching records have raised questions about the extent of compliance to the fishing moratorium. We compiled data of commercial landings figuring in official reports as well as episodes of apprehensions of illegal catches by environmental police. According to reports, national catches declined seventy percent after the moratorium establishment, with an average of 393 tons per year of poaching between 2003 and 2011. Although poachers are occasionally caught during environmental police raids along Brazilian coast, in Pará State catches are reported to continue and poachers have targeted aggregations. Data from those episodes do not reflect the real number of poaching, which is believed to be much higher, once fisher process fishes before landings to confuse the supervision and weak enforcement efforts. As management strategies, we recommend the continuity of the fishing moratorium, besides increase in surveillance and enforcement. The choice of priority areas for concentration of goliath grouper conservation efforts may be an effective approach.

Illegal fishing, Fisheries management, Fisheries surveillance, Poaching, Threatened species