Fish in Brazilian nature reserves face new threat

Environmental martyr Chico Mendes must be turning in his grave.

The Brazilian far-right government is legalizing fishing in nature reserves

Image: ICMBio

An ordinance published by Instituto Chico Mendes, a Brazilian federal environmental agency, has regulated ‘recreational fishing’ in conservation units occupied by traditional communities.

The move represents yet another attack on the country’s environmental laws promoted by far-right president Bolsonaro.

According to a report in O Globo news portal, at least 185 conservation units out of 334 will be affected by the new ordinance.

The Amazon region is the most affected part of Brazil since all conservation categories listed in the ordinance can be found in the region.

The new ordinance is terrible news for the environment since it opens the possibility of yet more illegal activities in protected areas.

Bolsonaro fined for illegal fishing

This change in regulation is yet another example of how Bolsonaro uses the public machine he now controls to avenge himself over previous grievances from the time when he was a minor congressman with less power.

In 2012, Bolsonaro was caught fishing inside the Tamoios Ecological Station, a federal marine reserve off the Rio de Janeiro state coast.

At the time, he received a US$10,000 fine by the official who caught him committing a crime. In a normal, civilized scenario, a serious politician would have apologized for the incident. Not Bolsonaro. Instead, he tried to use his power a a lawmaker to get back at the agent. He failed. But soon after he became president, he made sure the same official was removed.

Fish feel pain

Besides the attack on environmental protections and giving fishing enthusiasts free pass to get inside reserves that belong to indigenous people, animals will suffer.

Fish who still enjoy the clean waters found in nature reserves will have their peace and quiet taken away from them.

Despite not being given the respect they deserve, there is increasing evidence that fish do feel pain.

According to this report in the Smithsonian magazine, “the collective evidence is now robust enough that biologists and veterinarians increasingly accept fish pain as a reality.”

Were it not enough to encourage mining in indigenous lands and siding with land-grabbers who are destroying the Amazon and its biodiversity, the far-right Brazilian government peels away another layer of protection of the country’s natural reserves.

All of this to pander to those who enjoy causing pain to other sentient beings and, in doing so, further degrade pristine environments.

Chico Mendes, the environmental martyr who was murdered for protecting the Amazon and who gives the name to the federal institute now being dismantled by the far-right government, must be turning in his grave.

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