Fish is a very big business worth some US$60 billion annually around the world. Brazil has less than 1% of that market – about US$400 million.
So, the Special Secretariat for Aquaculture and Fish (SEAP) is doing something about it. They have joined forces with the supermarket association (Abras) and are promoting Fish Week.
The World Health Organization reports that eating fish is good for you. Fish fortifies the bones and the immunological system.
It can reduce the chances of getting high blood pressure, Alzheimer disease, cancer, arteriosclerosis, schizophrenia, depression, premature births and diabetes, among other things.
The campaign will take place not only in supermarkets, but in street fairs, shopping centers, tourist locations and even in public schools. Many fish products will be sold at up to 40% off the regular price.
Guilherme Crispim of SEAP reports that annual Brazilian per capita consumption of fish was 6.8 kilos in 2002, and has been rising around 5% annually, but remains below the WHO recommendation of 12 kilos annually.
Crispim says that with the campaign giving things a boost, Brazil may reach the WHO recommended level by 2007.
Brazil’s fleet of fishing boats will be modernized over the next three years with investments of US$ 477 million (1.5 billion reais).
The Profrota program of the Special Secretariat of Aquiculture and Fishing also covers the purchase of used vessels less than five years old.
The resources will come from the North and Northeast Constitutional Funds and the Merchant Marine Fund. Payment will be made in up to 20 years with average annual interest rates ranging from 7% to 12%.
The fishing boats will operate in the so-called Exclusive Economic Zone and in international waters.
The program, which was under discussion for four months by representatives of eleven government Ministries, is intended to stimulate the construction of at least 100 boats and the acquisition of 30 more with fewer than five years of use. An additional 240 boats are expected to be modernized.
According to the Minister of Fishing, José Fritsch, the measure will allow the exclusive zone to be occupied in a sustainable manner.
“We need to have a structure of ocean fishing vessels for deep water, but within a perspective of sustainability,” he said.
Another of the Special Secretariat’s actions foresees the modernization of four fishing terminals with financing on the order of US$ 87 million from the World Bank (IBRD).