The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, sanctioned last
week the bill which confers the Special Secretariat of Aquaculture and
Fisheries, SEAP, the status of ministry, enacted to boost the fishing
sector and develop the country's maritime and fluvial potential.
The new ministry is responsible for national fisheries and aquaculture polices, including production, transport, processing, trading, supply, storage among others.
The creation of the new ministry is part of the Brazilian government long term strategy to increase fisheries production by 40% in the next three years.
Altemir Gregolin, head of SEAP was confirmed as the first Brazilian Fisheries minister.
"The creation of the Fisheries and Aquaculture ministry means the consolidation of long term government policies for Brazilian aquaculture and fisheries potential, besides clear evidence of the government's commitment to the sector's activities," said Gregolin.
At the ceremony held in Itajaí in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Lula da Silva also announced the new Fisheries Bill which will facilitate artisan and coastal fishermen access to credit.
According to the new legislation artisan fishermen will be provided by the National Program for the Strengthening of Family Farming which has approximately 12.5 billion US dollars in funds to support peasants and subsistence agriculture.
Coastal fishermen are now catalogued as "rural producers" and in equal conditions to their peasant farmers.
"What matters now is that these resources are well invested, because there's nothing more frustrating than to fight for something and then see it plummet," said President Lula da Silva.
Although Brazil has 7.300 kilometers of coast along the Atlantic and a huge fluvial network with some of the largest rivers in the world, landings only amount to less than a million tons including 25% from fish farming.
The new ministry is also responsible for promoting the consumption of fish which is not a common dish among Brazilians. Per capita annual consumption is 9 kilos compared to 15 kilos world-wide and 25 in Europe, according to FAO statistics.
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