Complexities of reef fisheries in Brazil: A retrospective and functional approach

Linda Eggertsen, André L. Luza, César A.M.M. Cordeiro, Cristian Dambros, Carlos E.L. Ferreira, Sergio R. Floeter, Ronaldo B. Francini-Filho, Kátia M.F. Freire, Maria A. Gasalla, Tommaso Giarrizzo, Vinicius J. Giglio, Natalia Hanazaki, Priscila F.M. Lopes, Guilherme O. Longo, Osmar J. Luiz, Rafael A. Magris, Thiago C. Mendes, Hudson T. Pinheiro, Juan P. Quimbayo, José Amorim Reis-FilhoDaniele A. Vila-Nova, Mariana G. Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reef fisheries are multispecific and employ a variety of fishing gears across marine environments, even in remote areas. This intricate and multifaceted nature of reef fisheries is often overlooked in management strategies, leading to global management failures. In Brazil, information about reef fisheries is often scarce and scattered. This stems from inadequate policies and an unrecognized societal value of reef fisheries. Here, we combine nationwide reef fish landing data (1950–2015) with an extensive literature review on Brazilian reef fisheries. We explore temporal and spatial patterns in total landings, species traits, functional diversity and composition to understand the current scenario, identify drivers of change and highlight information gaps. Brazilian reef fisheries rapidly increased in landing volume, number of targeted species and exploited traits in the 1980’s, despite mainly targeting carnivorous fish (groupers, snappers, jacks and trevallies). Exploited functional space increased over time, mainly due to the incorporation of smaller and lower-trophic level species that gradually were added to the pool of fished species. Local and international markets have been the main drivers behind these patterns, while subsistence fishing is marginal. Lack of proper management and enforcement of existing regulations have led to population declines, dwindling total catches since the early 2000’s, and numerous threatened species. Artisanal fishing accounts for the majority of catches, raising concern on the social impacts of degraded reef fisheries. We highlight the urgent need for adequate fishing statistics, and the use/application of science-based management and policy actions to secure productive fisheries and healthy reef ecosystems in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-538
Number of pages28
JournalReviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Issue number1
Early online date2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Complexities of reef fisheries in Brazil: A retrospective and functional approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this