Fishing may be banned, but establishments explain that suppliers grow fish in captivity
Despite the MMA (Ministry of the Environment) including the spotted fish in the list of endangered fish, the species will not disappear from the table of the people of Mato Grosso do Sul, who are already accustomed to one of the most traditional dishes in the state.
According to the ordinance, the transport, storage, guard, handling, processing and commercialization of the painted will be prohibited within 180 days. However, fishmongers currently sell captive-bred animals, called farmed fish.
Unlike river fish, farmed fish are bred for commercialization and sold up to 50% cheaper than those caught in the wild. The difference is in the taste, which can vary depending on where the animals are kept.
The owner of Peixaria Lima, Gilmar Bezerra Lima, 43 years old, explains that if the fish is grown in bad conditions, such as in small ponds, and is not fed properly, the meat tastes inferior to the natural one in the rivers.
“When fish is grown on farms, on a large scale, there is a whole process that eliminates that taste of feed, of earth. I usually say that the taste is the same, only if the person has a very keen palate, but if you have it in a pond where the fish is starving, it will definitely taste bad,” he said.
The businessman sells both types of fish, both river and farmed. “Here we sell a lot of painted, it is the most traditional in the state. But in my view, it could close all river fish fishing, to create a culture of consumption of farmed fish here in the state”, he pointed out.
For the owner of Peixaria Atlântica, Valdenice da Costa, 44, the taste between the two types of fish is quite different. “River fish has no comparison, the taste is different, but the taste of the farmed fish has already improved a lot with the improvement of the feed”.
She also points out that for two years, the spotted is not being found as often as it used to be. “Since the Pantanal caught fire in 2020, it’s been hard to find. Here we are catching farmed fish from the Amazon, Paraná, which is cheaper than river fish. So the price will not be affected, no”.
In addition to the taste, the owner of Peixaria do Beto, Eliverson Abrão Asayv, 44 years old, says that the meat of the cultivated guinea pig is also more fragile.
“It doesn’t move much, so the meat is more fragile, unlike river fish, which swims more. Restaurants are looking for the river one a lot, so if it’s really forbidden, I’ll have to look for some adaptation ”, he reported.
“River fish is sold a lot because of its fame, its status, but the most consumed fish is already cultivated, it is easier to find and cheaper”, he added.
Is it banned or not? – Ordinance No. 148 of June 7, 2022, updated No. 445, of 2014, and provides for a ban on capture and commercialization within 180 days.
However, the regulation can be reversed, since Imasul (Environment Institute of Mato Grosso do Sul) questioned the Ministry about the data.
As explained by the Environment and Tourism Superintendent at Semagro (Secretariat for the Environment, Economic Development, Production and Family Agriculture), Pedro Mendes Neto, it is possible that a re-study and a new discipline of fishing will be carried out, as Mato Grosso do Sul has state decree establishing restrictive measures for the capture of species, such as minimum and maximum size limits.
“All the data will undergo an analysis in these six months. If all the research indicates that the species is vulnerable, the ban is valid, but here in the State there are already public policies that protect the painted”, he pointed out.
The request for reanalysis was made this Friday (10) and there is no deadline for the Federal Government to send a response. Until then, the ordinance of the Ministry of the Environment is valid.