Since 2001, fishermen, seafood collectors and crabs pickers of Canavieiras are suffering from the negative impacts of shrimp farming. Among the main consequences of this activity for local communities are the reduction of fish and crustaceans in the region; the contamination of rivers and mangroves; threats; violence and attempts at intimidation against fishermen and their families. In addition, there are reports of diseases among farm workers, arising from the Metabisulphite contamination, handled without personal protective equipment (PPE).The first complaints relating to these issues were published in 2002, when six associations of fishermen of Canavieiras denounced the high fish, shellfish and crabs kills as a result of the activities of local shrimp farms.
In June 5, 2006, after four years of struggle and mobilizations, the Federal Government created the marine extractive reserve (RESEX) of Canavieiras, with 100,645.85 hectares where access and use rights for fishing were allocated to local groups or communities. About 80% of the RESEX is formed by sea, and 20%, by mangroves, rivers and small coastal islands. The latter represent 3% of the area, and are used by fishermen as shelter or stopping points.
According to the Rede MangueMar, the municipality of Canavieiras began in July 2007 a campaign against the RESEX. This campaign had the support of local merchants and businessmen linked to shrimp farming. The citys proposal was to turn the RESEX in an environmental protection area (APA).
The creation of the extractive reserve has not put an end to the conflict; on the contrary, in some ways, it ihas ntensified. Shortly after the creation of the Deliberative Council of the RESEX, in 2009, vessels belonging to the community of Campinho were burned by people opposed to the reserve.
In addition to the violence, fishermen and gatherers of Canavieiras still must deal with the tardiness of the federal bureaucracy. Although created in 2006, the reserve still remains without the signature of the contract for granting the right to use (CCDRU) with the Union, which consolidates and regulates the possession of the community on the land and on the sea and that ensures access to policies directed for local sustainable extraction.