MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.47193/mafis.3412021010303
ABSTRACT. This study analyzed the profile of recreational fishers on-site in Ilhéus, northeast-
ern Brazil, their fishing habits, and catch composition. Interviews were conducted along the coast
of Ilhéus from December 2006 to December 2008 with all fishers encountered and their catch iden-
tified and measured. A total of 227 fishers were interviewed in 23 days. Most of the interviewees
were men (93.4%), residing in Ilhéus (84.9%). They preferred fishing in the morning, weekends,
and summer. Shrimp was the main bait used. Fishers were generalists, but most of the catch included
Polydactylus virginicus, Ariidae, and Menticirrhus littoralis. Catches observed during the inter-
views allowed to estimate an annual catch of 1.4 t. A proportion of 88% of fishers practiced catch-
and-release, mainly small fishes. Only 10% of them carried license for recreational fishing and
about 5.3% were members of fishing clubs. This provides a unique opportunity to compare our
results with those from another study conducted in the same locality during the same period with
members of fishing clubs. These fishers used very small hooks during competitive events, which
resulted in the capture of smaller fishes than was reported here on-site. This study sets a baseline to
analyze temporal changes in fishing habits and catch.
Key words: Sport fishery, recreational fishing, coastal fishery, catch composition, demographic
profile, northeastern Brazil.
Información de base in situ sobre la pesca recreativa costera y comparación con eventos com-
petitivos en Ilhéus, sur de Bahía, Brasil
RESUMEN. Este estudio analizó el perfil de los pescadores recreativos in situ en Ilhéus, noreste
de Brasil, sus hábitos de pesca y la composición de las capturas. Se realizaron entrevistas a lo largo
de la costa de Ilhéus desde diciembre de 2006 a diciembre de 2008 con todos los pescadores encon-
trados y su captura fue identificada y medida. Se entrevistó a un total de 227 pescadores en 23 días.
La mayoría de los entrevistados eran hombres (93,4%), residentes en Ilhéus (84,9%). Preferían pes-
car por la mañana, los fines de semana y el verano. El camarón fue el cebo principal utilizado. Los
pescadores eran generalistas, pero la mayor parte de la captura incluía Polydactylus virginicus,
Ariidae y Menticirrhus littoralis. Las capturas observadas durante las entrevistas permitieron esti-
mar una captura anual de 1,4 t. Una proporción del 88% de los pescadores practicó la captura y libe-
ración, principalmente de peces pequeños. Solo el 10% de ellos tenía licencia para la pesca recrea-
tiva y alrededor del 5,3% eran miembros de clubes de pesca. Esto brinda una oportunidad única para
comparar nuestros resultados con los de otro estudio realizado en la misma localidad durante el
mismo período con miembros de clubes de pesca. Estos pescadores utilizaron anzuelos muy peque-
ños durante los eventos competitivos, lo que resultó en la captura de peces más pequeños de lo que
se informó aquí in situ. Este estudio establece una línea de base para analizar los cambios tempora-
les en los hábitos de pesca y la captura.
5
*Correspondence:
kmffreire2018@gmail.com
Received: 26 October 2020
Accepted: 14 December 2020
ISSN 2683-7595 (print)
ISSN 2683-7951 (online)
https://ojs.inidep.edu.ar
Journal of the Instituto Nacional de
Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero
(INIDEP)
This work is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0
International License
Marine and
Fishery Sciences
MAFIS
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Baseline on-site information on coastal recreational fishery and comparison
with competitive events in Ilhéus, southern Bahia, Brazil
KÁTIA MEIRELLES FELIZOLA FREIRE
1, 2, *
and GECELY RODRIGUES ALVES ROCHA
1
1
Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Campus Soane Nazaré de Andrade, Rodovia Jorge Amado, km 16 - Salobrinho, Ilhéus - Bahia - Brazil,
CEP: 45662-900.
2
Departamento de Engenharia de Pesca e Aquicultura, Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Cidade Universitária Prof. José
Aloísio de Campos, Av. Mal. Rondon s/n, Jardim Rosa Elze, São Cristóvão - Sergipe - Brazil, CEP 49100-000
INTRODUCTION
Recreational fishery is defined as ‘fishing of
aquatic animals (mainly fish) that do not consti-
tute the individual’s primary resource to meet
basic nutritional needs and are not generally sold
or otherwise traded on export, domestic or black
markets’ (FAO 2012). This definition is also valid
for Brazil, except that recreational catch selling is
not allowed in any circumstance (MPA/MMA
2012). Catches originating from recreational fish-
eries should be added to those commercial fish-
eries to better access the status of main stocks
throughout their distribution areas. A recent ini-
tiative, using all possible data sources available
from recreational fisheries estimated that around
0.9 million tonns were extracted from marine
waters around the globe in 2014 (Freire et al.
2020). This estimate may be low when compared
to those from commercial fisheries, which
accounted for 93.4 million tonns in the same year
(FAO 2016), but it is always important to point
out that recreational catches might surpass com-
mercial catches for some resources in certain
areas (Coleman et al. 2004).
The main challenge in compiling catch data
from recreational fisheries is its geographically
disperse nature, with recreational fishers looking
for remote areas to get better fishing experiences.
Many recent initiatives have been trying to recov-
er past information on catches using the most
diverse types of data (see, e.g., Espedido et al.
2014; Belhabib et al. 2016; Babali et al. 2018).
Competitive fishing events are particularly
important to provide at least some initial informa-
tion for certain places on who is fishing, what is
fished, how are they fishing and how large are
their catches, as these events represent a concen-
tration of fishers and data (Schramm Jr. and Har-
rison 2008; Freire et al. 2016). However, catches
originating from competitive fishing events rep-
resent only a partial picture. Moreover, fishers’
behavior during these events and outside the
events may differ.
Freire et al. (2020) analyzed the profile of
recreational fishers in Ilhéus (2006-2008), in
southern Bahia, as well as their fishing habits,
using information collected during competitive
fishing events. This area is particularly important
as it lodges the second oldest fishing club in
Bahia, Clube de Pesca de Ilhéus (CLUPESIL),
founded in 1975 (Freire 2010), which is very
active in promoting competitive events. The pres-
ent paper aimed at describing the profile of recre-
ational fishers in Ilhéus fishing outside competi-
tive fishing events (hereafter called on-site) dur-
ing the same period (2006-2008), and at compar-
ing the fishing habits and catch composition on-
site with those of competitive events. Data ana-
lyzed here do not provide information on the sta-
tus of local recreational coastal fisheries, but pro-
vide a valuable source of baseline information
that can be used to compare with more current
data to assess possible changes after 12 years.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
During this study, the northern, central, and
southern coast of Ilhéus were visited alternatively
once a month from December 2006 to December
2008 (Figure 1). Central beaches are located in a
very urbanized area separated from the northern
beaches by the estuary of Almada River and from
the southern beaches by the estuary of Cachoeira
River. Visits started at the beginning of the day
(the earliest was at 8:47 am) and would not end
until the last kilometer of beach was visited (the
latest was at 5:47 pm). No attempt was done to
6
MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
Palabras clave: Pesca deportiva, pesca recreacional, pesca costera, composición de la captura, perfil demográfico, noreste de Brasil.
cover nocturnal fishing activities due to the
remoteness of fishing areas and safety issues.
Survey days were not randomly chosen due to
logistic reasons, but there were interviews in all
days of the week, except for Tuesdays. Every
time one or a group of recreational fishers was
spotted at the beach (on-site), using binoculars,
our team interviewed all of them making use of a
questionnaire with closed- and open-ended ques-
tions to obtain demographic data and information
on fishing habits. Moreover, we identified and
measured all fishes caught on-site. Demographic
questions included age, sex, occupation, and
place of residence. In terms of fishing habits,
questions were related to participation in fishing
clubs, acquisition (or not) of recreational fishing
license, target species, type and number of fishing
gears used, bait, and hook size. For the hook size,
we used a model where all sizes available in the
market for coastal recreational fishers were glued
onto a metallic plate to avoid problems with the
size definition among different hook brands. Pre-
ferred time of the day, day of the week, and
month to go fishing were also included, as well as
the preferred fishing site. Catch-and-release
habits and the destination of those specimens
retained (consumption, donation, or sale) were
also questioned. Finally, fishers were asked to
relate the main problems observed with recre-
ational fisheries in the region.
Additionally, fishers were asked about the
number of fishes caught by species’ common
name up to the moment of the interview and if the
individuals were released or not. If not, all speci-
mens were measured on-site (total length – TL,
cm) or weighed (total weight – TW, g) and these
measurements were converted into each other
using weight-length relationships (WLRs) avail-
able in FishBase (Froese and Pauly 2019) for the
same (or the closest possible) region. The catch
7
FREIRE AND ROCHA: ON-SITE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY IN BAHIA
Figure 1. Map showing Ilhéus and the main fishing sites located between Itacaré and Canavieiras, in southern Bahia.
observed during the 23 days of interviews was
used to estimate a daily catch, which was then uti-
lized to calculate catch for one year using a sim-
ple extrapolation: daily catch (total observed
catch/number of survey days) × 365 days. No
attempt was done to consider differences among
fishing sites (northern, central, or southern beach-
es) or different days of the week, due to the
reduced sampling effort.
RESULTS
Our team conducted 264 interviews in 23 dif-
ferent days with 227 recreational fishers. These
interviews were almost equally divided between
weekdays and weekends (Table 1). Results pre-
sented from demographic questions and fishing
habits are related only to these 227 fishers, but
catch rates are related to all 264 interviews. Most
of the interviewees were men (93.4%). Some of
them were interviewed more than once (1, 2, 3 or
6 times). Only 10% of the fishers carried a recre-
ational fishing license and about 5.3% were mem-
bers of fishing clubs. A proportion of 84.9% of
the interviewed fishers were residents of Ilhéus
(in the state of Bahia) and 97.5% residents of
Bahia (including Belmonte, Itabuna, Itapetinga,
Jacobina, Porto Seguro, and Salvador, besides
Ilhéus). The remaining fishers lived in Brasília
(capital of Brazil), Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro,
and Pernambuco. In terms of occupation, inter-
viewees were either retired (16%), vendors
(12%), security officers (7%), public servants
(5%), students (5%), or construction workers
(4%). The sector is highly diverse with another 44
occupations reported.
Recreational fishers in Ilhéus usually do not
have specific target species (92%). Carangids
(jack, pompano, and Atlantic pumper), barbu, and
snook were the mostly cited among those who
have targets. An extremely low number of fishers
(one or two fishers) target ray, mojarra, shark, cat-
fish, and weakfish. The most common fishing gear
used was reel (90% of all fishers), followed by
handline, pole and line, and spear (Table 2). Those
using reels kept one (71% of fishers), two (24%),
or three (5%) lines in the water at the same time.
Recreational fishers use a variety of hook sizes,
from exceptionally large, including those used by
commercial fishers (> 3/0), to exceptionally small
(24, called unha de gato) (Figure 2). Many fishers
chose hook sizes in between standard sizes pro-
vided as samples in a showcase metallic plate. A
proportion of 62% of the recreational fishers inter-
8
MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
Table 1. Number of interview days (N) conducted on-site by day of the week with recreational fishers in Ilhéus, southern Bahia,
from December 2006 to December 2008 and the minimum, mean and maximum number of fishers interviewed.
Day of week N Minimum Mean Maximum
Monday 2 4 8 11
Tuesday 0 ―
Wednesday 1 18 18 18
Thursday 8 1 10 20
Friday 1 1 1 1
Saturday 7 5 15 24
Sunday 4 2 12 24
Total 23 1 12 24
viewed on-site stated that they use size 5 hooks or
larger and 38% said they use smaller than size 5.
These results differed from the statements present-
ed by recreational fishers interviewed by Freire et
al. (2020) in Ilhéus during competitive fishing
events taking place in the same period. A propor-
tion of 50% of those fishers stated the use of size
5 hooks or larger when fishing outside competi-
tive events and 50% used hooks smaller than size
5 (Figure 2). Finally, those same fishers used
smaller hook sizes during competitive events,
which is reflected in a reverse proportion (5% for
size 5 hooks and larger, and 95% for hooks small-
er than size 5; Figure 2). Crustaceans (87.9%),
fishes (10%), and mollusks (1.7%) were used as
bait by the interviewed fishers (Table 3). One fish-
er mentioned the use of beef as bait. Among the
crustaceans, shrimps were the most common
(77.8%), followed by ghost shrimps (7.5%). All
the remaining types contributed less than 5%.
When asked to state the preferred time of the
day to go fishing, 67% of the fishers mentioned
the actual hour of the day and 33% said it depends
on the tide. Those who stated by time, preferred
going fishing during the morning (6 am to noon;
9
FREIRE AND ROCHA: ON-SITE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY IN BAHIA
Figure 2. Standard hook size (mm) provided as samples in a showcase metallic plate used during on-site interviews with recre-
ational fishers in Ilhéus, southern Bahia, in 2006-2008 (A); hook size that these on-site fishers stated using in their daily
activities (black columns) (B). For comparison purposes, hook size that fishers interviewed in competitive events men-
tioned using during their daily recreational activities (grey column) and in competitive events were included (modified
from Freire et al. 2020).
Table 2. Gear types used by recreational fishers in Ilhéus,
southern Bahia, interviewed between 2006 and 2008.
Gear Proportion (%)
Spinning reel (molinete) 80.4
Reel (carretilha) 9.8
Handline 5.3
Mixed 2.2
Pole and line 1.8
Spear 0.4
3/0
2/0
1/0
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
10
12
14
15
16
24
Hook size
0
10
20
30
40
50
Frequency (%)
On-site
Recreational
Competition
B
A
> 3/0
Figure 3 A). Preference decreases in the afternoon
and even further at night (Figure 3 A). Those who
stated by tide, preferred going fishing mainly dur-
ing flushing and breaking tides (Figure 3 B).
Fishers would preferentially fish during week-
ends, despite the occurrence of fishing activities
throughout the week (Figure 4 A). Even though
fishers stated they could go fishing all year round,
there was a preference for the summer (December
until February; Figure 4 B). In general, most
10
MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
Table 3. Bait types mentioned by recreational fishers interviewed on-site in Ilhéus from December 2006 to December 2008. N
= number of times each bait type was mentioned (each fisher could list up to three types) and P = proportion (%). Bold
numbers = sum of frequencies for each large group.
Portuguese English Taxon N P (%)
common name common name
Crustaceans 87.9
Camarão Shrimp Penaeidae Rafinesque, 1815 160 66.9
Camarão branco, White shrimp Litopenaeus schmitti (Burkenroad, 1936) 16 6.7
branco de rio,
branco do mangue
Camarão rosa, Pink shrimp Farfantepenaeus spp. Burukovsky, 1997 5 2.1
camarão rosinha
Camarão sete barbas Atlantic seabob Xiphopenaeus kroyeri (Heller, 1862) 5 2.1
Corrupto Ghost shrimp Callianassidae Dana, 1852 18 7.5
Siri mole Swimming crab Portunidae Rafinesque, 1815 4 1.7
Tatuí, tatuzinho Sand crab Hippidae Latreille, 1825 2 0.8
Fishes 10.0
Peixe, peixe pequeno, Fish Actinopterygii 10 4.2
peixe vivo
Sardinha Sardine Clupeidae Cuvier, 1816 4 1.7
Manjuba Anchovy Engraulidae Gill, 1861 3 1.3
Cascudo False herring Harengula clupeola (Cuvier, 1829) 3 1.3
Tainha Mullet Mugil spp. Linnaeus, 1758 2 0.8
Barbudo Threadfin Polydactylus sp. Lacepède, 1803 1 0.4
Carapicu Mojarra Eucinostomus sp. Baird and Girard, 1855 1 0.4
Mollusks 1.7
Lula Squid Myopsida 3 1.3
Polvo Octopus Octopoda Leach, 1818 1 0.4
Others 0.4
Carne Beef ― 1 0.4
Total 239 100.0
fishers preferred going fishing in southern beach-
es – SB (57%), followed by northern beaches −
NB (25%), and central beaches − CB (18%) (Fig-
ure 5). More particularly, the following localities
were the most cited: Morro de Pernambuco (CB),
Falafina (NB), Lençóis (SB), and Acuípe (SB)
(Figure 5). Two fishers preferred fishing offshore
and one in rivers, and eleven of them had no pref-
erence. A total of 85% of all fishers consume their
catch, 22% donate, and 1% sell it. About 2% of
11
FREIRE AND ROCHA: ON-SITE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY IN BAHIA
Figure 3. Preferred time of the day to go fishing stated by recreational fishers on-site in Ilhéus, southern Bahia, in 2006-2008.
A) By hour. B) By tide.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Depend on tide
Low tide
Breaking tide
High tide
Flushing tide
Absolute frequency
B
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
4 5 6 7 8 9 1011121314151617181920212223
Absolute frequency
Hour of the day
A
Figure 4. Days of week (A) (Monday to Sunday) and months of the year (B) (January to February) that recreational fishers stated
they prefer to go fishing in Ilhéus, southern Bahia, in 2006-2008.
AB
0
40
80
120
160
200
Mon Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat Sun
Absolute frequency
Day
0
50
100
150
200
250
J
FMAM
JJ
A
SO
N
D
Absolute frequency
Month
12
MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
Figure 5. Preferred fishing sites stated by recreational fisheries interviewed on-site in Ilhéus, southern Bahia, in 2006-2008.
Itacaré
Morro do Siriaco
Itacarezinho
Serra Grande
Praia de Pé de Serra
Praia do Sargi
Praia dos Coqueiros
Praia de Mamoã
Praia do Ramo
Ponta da Tulha
Vila Barra Mares
Condomínio Paraíso das Águas
Condomínio Mar e Sol
Condomínio Japará
S o Domingosã
Iguape
Falafina
S o Miguelã
Espig o/Porto de Ilhéusã
Praia da Avenida
Oiteiro
Cristo
Col nia de Pesca do Pontalô
Morro de Pernambuco
Opaba
Nelson Costa
Hotel Jardim Atl nticoâ
Condomínio Mar à Vista
Praia dos Milionários
Clube dos Pescadores
Praia de Cururupe
Pedra da Cachorra
Praia do BANEB
Pousada Ecológica
Condomínio Mar de Ilhéus
Stac Camping
Condomínio Porto da Lancha
Praia de Olivença
Backdoor
Praia de Batuba
Praia de Siriyba
Praia do Jairi
Acuípe
Lençóis
Una/Pedra de Una
Comandatuba
Pousada Costa do Sul
Canavieiras
Absolute frequency
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Northern beaches
Central beaches
Southern beaches
them never caught a fish. Finally, 88% of the fish-
ers interviewed released fishes in the following
cases: small size (71%), catfish (7%), pufferfish
(3%), spawners (1%), and others (4%; including
small catfish, ray, snook during the spawning
period, large snapper, mullet, mackerel, bonefish,
and turtle). Some fishers released fishes in more
than one of these cases.
Main problems mentioned by recreational fish-
ers interviewed on-site were shrimp and ‘calão’
fisheries (shore-based trawl fishery), which lead
to decreasing abundance of fishes (Figure 6). The
decreasing abundance was also associated to pol-
lution in its diverse forms (on the beach sand,
sewage, rivers, etc.) and to predatory fishery in
general (no mention about type of predatory fish-
ery). All remaining problems were cited by five
or less fishers. It is worth mentioning that global
warming was pointed out as one of the problems,
as well as decreasing water temperature caused
by changes in circulation. These last changes may
be associated to the port construction and place-
ment of groins close to the port area, which were
both mentioned as problems as well (Figure 6).
A total of 367 fishes were caught by recreation-
al fishers during this study, corresponding to
87.5 kg. This led to an estimated mean annual
catch by shore-based recreational fishers of 1.4 t
(estimated on-site). This could be considered an
underestimate as it does not consider fishes
caught by the same fishers after our interview or
by those fishers who may have arrived after our
interview was conducted. A total of 23 taxa were
reported during the interviews, with the most
abundant being Polydactylus virginicus (Lin-
naeus, 1758), Ariidae Bleeker, 1858, Menticir-
rhus littoralis (Holbrook, 1847), Trachinotus
goodei Jordan and Evermann, 1896, Trachinotus
spp. Lacepède, 1801, and Eucinostomus spp.
Baird and Girard, 1855 (Table 4). Some of the
individuals could not be identified at species level
as they were returned to the sea or due to lack of
laboratory infrastructure on-site. A proportion of
87% of all P. virginicus measured were below the
maturity size of 22.1 cm estimated by Freire et al.
(2020). Similar proportion of M. littoralis (85%)
13
FREIRE AND ROCHA: ON-SITE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY IN BAHIA
Figure 6. Problems that local recreational fisheries have been facing during the last years according to recreational fishers inter-
viewed on-site in Ilhéus, southern Bahia, in 2006-2008. IBAMA = Brazilian Institute for the Environment and
Renewable Natural Resources.
0102030405060708090
Absolute frequency
Light close to shore
Fish abundance was always low
Capture ban for some species
Fishing boat traffic
Fishing gear theft
IBAMA neglect
Incidental catch of turtles
Need for catch and release--
Wind
Port and groin ('espigão')
Changes in temperature (higher or lower)
Gillnet
Decreasing fish quality and size
Increasing number of people and urbanization
Predatory fishery
Pollution
Decreasing abundance
Shrimp and 'calão' trawling
14
MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
Table 4. Species caught by recreational fishers along the coast of Ilhéus, Bahia, between 2006 and 2008. Species identification based on Freire et al. (2020)
or on-site. ‘Outros’ (others) includes the following species that could not be identified: pampoleta, sargentinho, aracanguira listada ou capiassava, sa-
nhoá, carapitanga, corongo, barbudo galha preta, brasileirinha, and peixe ornamental. Total weight refers to all specimens caught. *Disk width.
Common name Species/higher taxon N Released Consumed/ Total length (cm) Weight
in Portuguese (%) bait (%) mean (min-max) (kg)
Barbudo Polydactylus virginicus (Linnaeus, 1758) 110 10.0 0.9 21.4 (10.8-29.0) 10.336
Bagre branco/amarelo/cinza/ Ariidae 81 40.7 7.4 21.6 (10.0-52.0) 14.627
alumínio
Corre costa Menticirrhus littoralis (Holbrook, 1847) 59 20.3 1.7 24.1 (16.0-33.0) 6.217
Pampo galhudo/aratobaia Trachinotus goodei 21 14.3 0.0 16.9 (12.5-27.8) 1.198
Jordan and Evermann, 1896
Outros Actinopterygii 13 46.2 0.0 40.7 (11.5-83.0) 3.077
Pampo Trachinotus spp. Lacepède, 1801 13 0.0 30.8 20.8 (10.7-42.0) 2.151
Carapicu Eucinostomus spp. Baird and Girard, 1855 10 0.0 60.0 12.8 (10.5-15.0) 0.265
Robalo Centropomus spp. Lacepède, 1802 9 0.0 0.0 31.8 (17.0-40.0) 4.462
Bagre fidalgo/bagre de fita Bagre spp. Cloquet, 1816 8 0.0 0.0 34.9 (23.0-49.0) 2.548
Pirambu Anisotremus surinamensis (Bloch, 1791) 6 0.0 0.0 20.2 (18.0-27.5) 1.414
Xaréu Caranx latus Agassiz, 1831 6 0.0 33.3 64.0 (42.0-82.3) 18.435
Corre costa (similar to) Ophioscion punctatissimus 4 0.0 0.0 16.7 (15.5-19.0) 0.218
Meek and Hildebrand, 1925
Cação Selachimorpha (Pleurotremata) 4 0.0 0.0 43.9 (42.3-46.8) 1.689
Aracanguira Carangidae Rafinesque, 1815 3 0.0 0.0 21.6 (16.1-25.6) 0.400
Arraia/arraia verdadeira Dasyatidae Jordan and Gilbert, 1879 3 0.0 0.0 51.8 (35.0-68.9)* 15.562
Carapicu branco Eucinostomus melanopterus (Bleeker, 1863) 3 0.0 0.0 13.3 (12.5-14.0) 0.078
Sauara Genyatremus luteus (Bloch, 1790) 3 0.0 0.0 29.6 (23.7-35.0) 1.698
Baiacu Tetraodontiformes 3 100.0 0.0 ― ―
Pampo verdadeiro/ Trachinotus carolinus (Linnaeus, 1766) 3 0.0 0.0 26.9 (19.6-33.5) 0.791
pampo espinha mole
Mero gato Serranidae Swainson, 1839 2 0.0 0.0 11.4 (9.2-13.5) 0.048
Cabeçudo Caranx crysos (Mitchill, 1815) 1 0.0 0.0 17.5 0.067
Moré Labrisomus nuchipinnis 1 0.0 0.0 15.1 0.050
(Quoy and Gaimard, 1824)
Sororoca Scomberomorus brasiliensis 1 0.0 0.0 68.0 2.223
Collette et al., 1978
Total 367 18.3 5.4
was also below the maturity size of 23 cm esti-
mated by Braun and Fontoura (2004). No infor-
mation published on maturity size was found for
T. goodei.
About 18.3% of the 367 fishes registered were
released and 5.4% were consumed on-site or were
used as bait. Ten to forty per cent of the four most
abundant taxa were released and 30-60% of the
last two taxa were consumed or used as bait
(Table 4). All pufferfishes were released. Total
length of fishes ranged from 9.2 (Serranidae
Swainson, 1839) to 83.0 cm (unidentified ‘coron-
go’, Actinopterygii), with a mean length of 23.5
cm TL.
DISCUSSION
A total of 5.3% of the interviewees were mem-
bers of fishing clubs, thus a different group was
reached in this study than in that carried out by
Freire et al. (2020) in the same period. This is a
unique opportunity to check for differences
and/or communalities between these two studies.
Many features are similar, including mean age,
predominance of men, fishing habits (main bait
used, preferred time and day of the week for fish-
ing), and problem perception (Table 5). However,
there is one main difference that leads to impor-
tant divergences: the proportion of fishers with-
out a fishing license was remarkably high (90%)
in this study, which contrasts with the 0% of those
interviewed during competitive fishing events in
Ilhéus (Table 5). This happens because these
events, promoted by the Clube de Pesca de Ilhéus
(CLUPESIL), are officially recognized by the
Brazilian Confederation of Fishing and Underwa-
ter Sports (CBPDS), and this Confederation
requires that each participant presents his/her
national recreational fishing license. Some impor-
tant implications arise from such a low proportion
of fishers on-site carrying a fishing license, as it
makes evident that the licensing system currently
in place in Brazil does not include many recre-
ational fishers. Thus, any fishing estimates using
information obtained merely from questionnaires
filled when acquiring this license may be biased
despite attempts to correct for the actual number
of fishers (see, e.g., Freire and Sumaila 2019).
Additionally, fishers interviewed during com-
petitive events (Freire et al. 2020) stated they
used medium sized hooks outside competitive
events, similar to those interviewed on-site, but
very small hooks during competitive events. This
occurs because the pointing system adopted in
these events favors the number of specimens
caught over individual weight (Freire et al. 2020).
Indeed, the maximum weight of fishes caught in
competitive events (670 g) was smaller than the
mean weight observed on-site (735 g; maximum
= 10,000 g), where fishers used exceptionally
large hooks (even larger than the samples present-
ed which correspond to those used by commercial
fishers).
In competitive events that took place in Ilhéus
in 2007-2008, Cathorops spixii (Agassiz, 1829)
catches were more abundant (Freire et al. 2020).
In our study conducted on-site in the same munic-
ipality and in the same period, ariids ranked sec-
ond in number but it was not possible to identify
all species caught within this group. Even though
C. spixii is commonly cited in ichthyofaunal sur-
veys along the Brazilian coast and commercial-
ized in some areas (Fávaro et al. 2005), ariids in
general were not appreciated by local recreational
fishers for consumption (personal observation),
with about 41% of them being releasing. Catfish-
es are seen as food taboo together with other
scaleless fishes (Hanazaki and Begossi 2006).
Even though reasons for releasing were not
specifically included in the interview, it may be
related to the detritivore diet associated to its ben-
thic habitat (Hanazaki and Begossi 2006), as stat-
ed by some fishers during the interview. On the
other hand, P. virginicus was ranked first on-site,
being highly appreciated for consumption and
hence only 10% of them were released. Ariids
15
FREIRE AND ROCHA: ON-SITE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY IN BAHIA
and P. virginicus were also among the dominant
catches by coastal recreational fishers in Sergipe
(Freire et al. 2017) together with M. littoralis. To
the best of our knowledge, there is no information
published for other states in northeastern Brazil
on coastal recreational fisheries other than the
ones cited here for Sergipe and Bahia.
A high proportion of M. littoralis (about 20%)
was released by fishers interviewed in Ilhéus in
this study. Considering that P. virginicus and M.
littoralis are appreciated for consumption, they
were probably released due to small size. Even
though these species are listed among the most
abundant in the catches sampled on-site, fishers
are generalists as 92% had no target species. A
total of 22 taxa were reported in this study
(among species, family, and order) and one cate-
gory named ‘others’ (including nine species
reported by common name but not properly iden-
tified). Only five of these species/group of
species were also reported for commercial fish-
eries (CEPENE, 2007): ‘arraia’ (ray), ‘bagre’
(catfish), ‘cação’ (shark), ‘robalo’ (snook), and
‘xaréu’ (jack). This indicates an extra pressure on
these same resources. The fact that 15 other
species caught by recreational fishers were not
individually reported in catch statistics of com-
mercial fisheries does not imply lack of overlap-
ping. Instead, these species may be recorded
along with others under the category ‘outros’
(others), revealing difficulties raised by the rich-
ness of names in catch statistics again (Freire and
Pauly, 2005). Studies on coastal recreational fish-
eries are still rare in Brazil, but in some of them
16
MARINE AND FISHERY SCIENCES 34 (1): 5-19 (2021)
Table 5. Comparison between features of recreational fisheries according to fishers interviewed on-site (this study) and in com-
petitive fishing events (modified from Freire et al. 2020) in Ilhéus, southern Bahia (2006-2008). *Value to the left cor-
responds to hook size used during competitive events and the one to the right when fishing outside competitive events.
**Percentage of fishers who stated the practice of catch-and-release, which differs from the proportion of fishes released
during our interviews (18.3%; Table 4).
Feature On-site Competitive events
Men (%) 93.4 75.0
Mean age (min-max) 43.7 (10-79) 41.1 (7-70)
Member of fishing clubs (%) 5.3 100
Fishing license (%) 10 100
Most cited hook size 4 (medium) 24 (small)/4 (medium)*
Main bait Shrimp Shrimp
Catch-and-release (%) 88** 98
Preferred fishing hour Morning Morning
Preferred fishing day Weekend Weekend
Preferred fishing month Summer (Dec-Feb) None
Preferred fishing site Morro de Pernambuco, Acuípe Acuípe
Main problem Shrimp/‘calão’ trawling Shrimp/‘calão’ trawling
Main species caught (% in number) Polydactylus virginicus (30) Cathorops spixii (33)
Fish mean size (min-max; cm) 23.5 (9.2-83.0) 11.8 (4.6-57.5)
Fish mean weight (min-max; g) 735.0 (11.0-10,000.0) 28.7 (0.9-670.0)
Number of interviewees 227 57
the same pattern was observed. In Santos (state of
São Paulo), in an inner region of the coast (Deck
do pescador), fifteen species were cited as target
by local recreational fishers, including Menticir-
rhus americanus (Linnaeus, 1758) and C. spixii
(Barrella et al. 2016). About 50 km to the south,
in the Plataforma Marítima de Pesca Amadora de
Mongaguá (state of São Paulo), about 55% of all
specimens caught were ariids, even though
Trichiurus lepturus was the main target (Alves
Junior et al. 2020). In sand beaches in southern
Paraná, Menticirrhus and ariids were the most
cited target by local recreational fishers, together
with at least eight other species (Henke and
Chaves 2017). In Cidreira (northern Rio Grande
do Sul), a large number of species was caught,
despite the dominance of sciaenids (Lewis et al.
1999). In Cassino Beach (southern Rio Grande do
Sul), differently from all these studies cited
above, recreational fishers are specialists target-
ing and catching mainly Menticirrhus spp.
(Basaglia and Vieira 2005). Even though a high
variety of species is caught by coastal recreation-
al fishers in Brazil, catches are usually dominated
by Menticirrhus and catfishes.
This study represents a further step towards
describing the coastal recreational fishery in
Ilhéus, providing historical information on the
demographics of its recreational fishers, their
fishing habits, and their catch rates. Considering
that recreational fisheries is a new research field
in Brazil, there are very few baseline studies
available in the country and the information pro-
vided here using data from 12 years ago could be
used to observe any changes. Thus, we noticed
that, at that time, on-site generalist recreational
fishers extracted around 1.4 t annually in Ilhéus.
Even though this estimate was low in relation to
commercial fisheries for the same period (about
110 t in 2005; CEPENE, 2007), it represents only
a partial portrait as nocturnal fisheries were
excluded from this analysis - no interview was
conducted between 6 pm and 6 am despite decla-
rations of some fishers about fishing during this
period (Figure 3). Similarly, catches from com-
petitive events, offshore activities, or spearfishing
were not included. Innovative ways of compiling
more complete information are required to better
describe recreational fisheries in Ilhéus and
Brazil as a whole in the near future. Despite the
increasing number of studies on recreational fish-
eries along the Brazilian coast, we are far from
properly covering even the most basic issues at
the national level, such as number of recreational
fisheries along the entire coast, main species
caught, and total catch.
Based on what was presented here, the first
question of the section entitled ‘resource monitor-
ing and data acquisition’, out of the 100 research
questions raised by Holder et al. (2020), ‘how do
we promote angler engagement in the provision of
reliable and accurate catch and effort informa-
tion?’, is valid for Brazil if we are to produce
catch statistics reflecting total extraction from
Brazilian marine waters. Modern tools are avail-
able to collect such information in a wider scale
and should be better explored and utilized here. If
we wait for local studies to be conducted along the
entire coast by a reduced number of researchers
working on recreational fisheries to be able to
accurately describe these Brazilian recreational
fisheries, it will take a long time to cover the entire
coast and all fishery types. Hence, we should start
thinking about mechanisms to better approach this
issue, perhaps by using all the technology current-
ly available to collect this information through
apps on a national scale, as we have already seen
in some isolated initiatives. In doing so, the recre-
ational sector could perform better than the com-
mercial sector in Brazil, for which the collection
of detailed catch statistics by species and state was
interrupted in 2007 (IBAMA 2007). Estimates of
Brazilian marine recreational catches produced by
Freire et al. (2020) could then be revisited in light
of a wider information base. Finally, recreational
fishers should understand the importance of
acquiring the fishing license and answer all ques-
tions that are part of the license in the best possi-
17
FREIRE AND ROCHA: ON-SITE COASTAL RECREATIONAL FISHERY IN BAHIA
ble way, as they provide valuable information for
establishing control and regulatory mechanisms.
Directing funds collected with the sale of these
fishing licenses to research, construction of public
ramps, educational programs for fishing guides,
mechanisms to register catches (landed and
released), among others, would encourage recre-
ational fishers to adhere to the licensing system.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank all recreational fishers
interviewed during this study, who also allowed
us to measure their catch, and Juarez Rodrigues
da Silva and Felipe Pinto Nascimento for helping
with the interviews. Recreational fishers Fábio
Gomes and Rodrigo Melins clarified many issues
raised during the elaboration of this manuscript.
This study was supported by the National Council
for Scientific and Technological Development -
CNPq (Edital Universal #478422/2006-7).
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