The ‘Criador’ and the ‘barcos grandes’: imagining institutional fishing and environmental policies
Abstract Every year, shoals of mullet are part of the coastal landscape of the village of Pontal do Leste, on Cardoso Island, Cananeia, São Paulo. Fishing practices targeting these fish are common in the village, but they are failing because of the competition with ‘traineiras’ from various locations in southern Brazil. The ‘traineiras’ are ‘barcos grandes’ (big boats) that practice industrial fishing. Intense predation by these vessels is disturbing fishing activities in the village, as well as the reproduction and growth of these fish, and also causes conflict with the teachings of the ‘Criador’ (God in Christianity). While the Criador teaches the villagers that there are predation thresholds for all non-human animals, the barcos grandes (motivated by the market and capital) disrespect these teachings. One objective of this article is to describe the complex cosmopolitical network, analyzing some controversies that emerge from encounters between the mullet, the traineiras, the village fishermen, and the Criador. Through these conflicts, the goal is to envision ways of constructing fishing and environmental policies that symmetrically present the Criador's teachings, the knowledge of local fishermen, and scientists from the regional environmental organization, without lapsing into dominations and/or relativisms.