Assasination of anti-aquaculture activist in Brazil

On the first of April, a fisherman in Piaui, state of Brazil. Sebastian Marques de Souza, 52 years, and the father of four sons, was assasinated. He was a leader of a community opposed to the current rapid shrimp aquaculture industry expansion.

According to the "pastoral of the Fishermen" (groups of fihermen working together and supported by the Catholic Church), the shrimp aquaculture industry should be held directly responsible for the assasination. The shrimp aquaculture industry is in the beginning process of expansion in Piauí.  Shrimp farmers are buying, or appropiating, the lands within, or surrounding, mangrove forest zones because these are the lands that they will use to build shrimp ponds.

These lands, in the majority of the cases, are public lands and local people have used them for many years collecting or fishing for all the products they need to survive and to maintain local economies. Brazil, in the last 5 years, has shown an increase of shrimp ponds doubling in farmed area every year.

Currently, there is a Bill in the national congress to modify the Law in order to permit shrimp aquaculture investors to use 20% of the wetlands surrounding mangroves. In spite of the fact that there exist in Brazil laws protecting the mangroves, shrimp farmers are illegally clearing mangroves and surrounding areas to build shrimp farms. If the bill is approved, the entrepreneurs will have the legal tool to destroy not only the wetlands that are surrounding mangroves but all the mangrove ecosystems they want.

Red Manglar (Mangrove Network) (and Greenpeace as a member of that network) is preparing a letter to Brazil's environmental authorities denouncing this fact and demanding to investigate the assasination.

From: "Elmer Lopez" <elmer.lopez@dialb.greenpeace.org>

***ACTION ALERT!!!***

Please Write Letters of Protest Against The Violence to the following Brazilian official:

Mr. JOSÉ CARLOS  CARVALHO

MINISTRO DE  ESTADO

MINISTÉRIO DO MEIO AMBIENTE

End.: Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco  b - 5º andar

CEP: 70068-900

Cidade: BRASILIA, UF: DF

Fax: Int'l code+ 52-61-226-7101

E-mail: jose-carlos.carvalho@mma.gov.br

 

===== SAMPLE LETTER =====

Mr. JOSÉ CARLOS  CARVALHO

MINISTRO DE  ESTADO

MINISTÉRIO DO MEIO AMBIENTE

End.: Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco  b - 5º andar

CEP: 70068-900

Cidade: BRASILIA, UF: DF

 

Honorable Minister CARVALHO,

I am writing you out of great concern for the dangerously deteriorating conditions surrounding the current expansion of shrimp farming in Brazil. I have just been informed of the recent assasination of Mr. SEBASTIÄO MARQUES DE SOUZA, 52 years old, father of 4 children, who was murdered on April 1st in the community of Mexeriqueira, Municipality of Luis Correia, Piaui State,  Brazil. He was murdered at his workplace by two men believed to be connected to that same industry which Mr. Marques de Souza had opposed, as he was one of the main leaders that fought  against the uncontrolled expansion of shrimp aquaculture. There is a great toll the shrimp aquaculture industry takes on the coastal environment and the surrounding communities in terms of natural resource loss, including mangrove loss, and diminished livelihood for coastal fishers and farmers. Add to these problems the associated industry violence, it does not take long before the situation gets far out of hand.

From the evidence surrounding this recent murder of Mr. Marques de Souza, it appears that this is now the case in your country. Please take immediate and strong actions against those who perpetrated this terrible crime, and help ensure that this crime is not repeated in Brazil.

Furthermore, I urge your administration to strongly oppose the resolution approved in the State of Ceara that favors the expansion of aquaculture to the detriment of both environment and local  communities. Please work with us to help ensure that shrimp farming is strongly regulated and monitored to prevent a worsening situation there.

Respectfully,

----------------- end of sample letter ----------------

For more information, please contact:

Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director

Mangrove Action Project

PO Box 1854

Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279

USA

phone/ fax (360) 452-5866

<mangroveap@olympus.net>

mailto:mangroveap@olympus.net

web site: http://www.earthisland.org/map/map.html