Flashback to 25 years of struggle for a land and sea reserve
at the fishing village Prainha do Canto Verde
For decades, local fishermen have been telling the international press and the scientific community about their struggle for the marine protected area established in 2009 -
including me. (Video)
Ultimately, the existence of their village was at stake, as it is located in the middle of a 570 km long coastline with endless sandy beaches, dunes and steep coastal cliffs.
The community of Prainha was then known worldwide as a model village for developing local, environmentally friendly tourism.
Back then, they still earned partly of their subsistence by fishing for lobsters on small flat traditional sailing boats called Jangadas. For 50 years they have tried to fend off the attack of the „lobster pirates and landgrabbing sharks", but are literally losing more and more lobsters and land. The fishermen have and have had influential enemies who threaten the survival of the village's marine and land conservation area, the so-called "RESEX" dividing even the community.
Decades ago, I also met for the first time co-author Sandra Weiss in Prainha. She reported for many newspapers about the main topics of the time: "local tourism" and "lobster pirates". I too spent several months a year in Prainha for more than two decades, observing and reporting on the village for various TV stations and film festivals.
Lindomar, one of our old acquaintances and interview partners, is adamant that today, in 2022, the locals no longer want to talk to journalists and academics, especially not to the "old European guard". Although the latter possesses a great deal of prior local knowledge, classifying the village today as "poorer", they are now accused of a kind of "white-nose colonialism". Perhaps not unjustly? What was considered progressive and environmentally friendly then has become outdated today. Lindomar forgets that for 30 years the village received considerable support from the European press, academia and NGOs, which led not at least to the founding of "RESEX". Some of the knowledge transfer has been
The Prainhan people are tired of the interviews and being a role model. They grew independent.
"Only someone who lives here can judge as to how well the situation is regarding the land and the ocean, the quality of life," says Lindomar.
True. But the communal spirit has also been lost. Instead, egoism, envy and the undeniable political " oligarchic paranoia" dating back to the time of ex-president Bolsonaro have spread in Prainha. Fear of local political right-wing cronies has long dominated the village talk of Prainha. Despite new-old president "Lula" da Silva. Even after Lula's environmental promises at the COP27, the chances of success for the survival of the "RESEX" in Prainha are unfortunately not particularly rosy!
Not just from a European perspective:
In Prainha do Cante Verde, the area of crisis has now shifted from the sea to the land issue.