Lobsters are becoming rare in Rio Grande do Norte
Tribuna do Norte published an article on June 18th about the quick diminishing of lobster production in Rio Grande do Norte.
The peak of the production was in 1990, when the State captured 992,543 kg of lobster; in 2004, the production was 273,900 kg.
This year, the situation is even worse. Tribuna interviewed a few lobster boat owners; most lobster is captured at high-sea; the boat owners hire fishermen, who spend from a few days to several weeks in the sea, setting up lobster traps called manzuás.
According to some boat owners, the production of May of this year is up to 80% lower than last year. Some say that they can't even recover the costs of sending the boats out.
The fishing of lobster used to be one of the main economic activity in the coast of Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará. To attend the demand (mostly for exportation), the local people were practicing predatory fishing.
A few years ago, a law determined that lobster fishing was prohibited from January to May, when the lobsters are reproducing; financial assistance is given to fishermen during the period. Also, there are limits about the minimum size of the lobsters.
Some specialists say that these measures were not enough. They defend the idea of a prohibition for at least one year.
Lobsters are becoming less common in the restaurants of Natal. Camarões used to serve lobster a few years ago, but not any more. I just called Samô, another restaurant specialized in seafood, and they are not servind lobster either. One of the few places serving lobster is Barraca do Caranguejo, in Ponta Negra, which also serves a rodizio de camarões (all you can eat shrimps).