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Story Publication logo May 20, 2022

In the Amazon, the Nets Have Fewer and Fewer Fish: “Our Main Income Is Running Out” (Portuguese)

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Two people are paddling a canoe on the river.
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This project proposes a visual investigation on the stress caused by the amazon’s economic...

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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Público. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.



Images by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

The centuries-old facades of Portuguese tiles in the Historic Center of São Luís, a World Heritage Site, enchant tourists from all over the world. But the capital of Maranhão is also a focal point for tensions arising from agribusiness and major infrastructure projects.

An island city, São Luís is connected to the mainland by the bridge over the Mosquitos Strait, adjacent to the Campo de Perizes, via BR-135. This part of the highway is a kind of "gorge" connecting the continent to the Itaqui port complex, through which the commodities of Vale, Alumar (Aluminum Consortium of Maranhão) and Matopiba flow.


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The pressure of agribusiness, steel, mining and energy production on territories and water resources where traditional peoples live has caused an avalanche of violence and environmental impacts in the Maranhão Amazon. The most recent conflict involves a transmission line of the holding EDP Energias do Brasil S/A and the fishing communities of Santa Rita, 70 kilometers from São Luís, as well as the neighboring municipalities of Anajatuba and Itapecuru-Mirim.


Santa Rita, Brazil. Aerial view of a farm, in Santa Rita, Maranhão state, near where the power lines were installed. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Portrait of fisherwoman Rosa Maria Vera Dias, 70. After the power lines were built in the mangrove, Rosa was no longer able to catch enough fish to feed her family. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Aerial view of farmers working in the marshlands to clear the way for fish and livestock to move around. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Portrait of Carlos Augusto Serejo, 30. Since the construction of the electricity towers in the mangrove swamp, the fishermen have not been able to get enough fish to sell in the local markets. He has since been forced to switch to the poultry business to ensure his family's survival. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. A fisherman returns from fishing with his bucket practically empty. Before the power lines were built, he says, he caught 10 times more fish of different species. Today, there are few piranhas left in the waters. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Portrait of Tânia Fernanda Dias, 40. As a child, Tânia used to catch small fish and insects in the swamp areas. Unfortunately, she says that today her nephews and nieces cannot do the same. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. On Easter Day, the Dias family eats fish for the first time that was caught in another region of Brazil and not on their doorstep. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Portrait of Antonio Serejo Dias, 45, farmer and fisherman, near the electric towers that were built over the water around his house. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Aerial view over the lines built in the mangrove. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Santa Rita, Brazil. Portrait of 81-year-old António Lima. The oldest cowboy in the Papagaio community is pessimistic about the future of his family. Since the construction of power lines in the mangroves, he says, his family is no longer able to catch enough fish to ensure their survival. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Viana, Brazil. Portrait of Rokrã Akroá-Gamella. In 2021, when the project to build a power line crossing the Akroá-Gamella territory was executed without the tribe's approval, Rokrã took up his bow and arrow to protect his land, which led to a conflict with the local police. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Viana, Brazil. View over the house of Adeli de Jesus, on a farm in Akroá-Gamella territory, a few meters from the electricity towers that were built without the tribe's approval. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Viana, Brazil. View over the lake of Viana (in the background) and a floating house, built this way due to the flooding caused by the rainy season. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Viana, Brazil. Buffalos on a farm located on the outskirts of the lake of Viana. The buffalo breeding industry became popular in the area during the 1960s as a new source of income. Cattle do not traditionally live in mangrove areas. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Viana, Brazil. View over the lake of Viana, Maranhão state, during a storm. In the rainy season the lake overflows, bringing water and fish to the poorest areas of the country. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.