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  /  Dicas   /  Sport fishing, the potential of Brazilian waters The potential of the sport fishing sector

Sport fishing, the potential of Brazilian waters The potential of the sport fishing sector

According to Sebrae (Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas), sport fishing is a sector that is starting in Brazil and already moves around R $ 1 billion annually in the country. Although it is related to tourism, which is the fastest growing economic sector in the world, it still has very little exploration in Brazil, and the use of its niche remains superficial. The Ministry of Environment estimates that amateur fishing generates US $ 8.2 billion per year in Germany; $ 6.2 billion in England and Wales; US $ 24 billion; And U $ 5 billion in Canada.

Growth in the sector

Sport fishing has been growing according to consultancy Ipsos l Marplan (2010). People with fishing habits went from 4 million to 7.8 million over a period of ten years. Data from the former Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAP) show that the issuance of licenses for amateur fishing has shown a growth trend, reaching an apex of around 450 thousand licenses in 2014, without considering the 6 million amateur fishermen with Irregular status, according to Embratur in 2011. The average fishing tournaments approved by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture was also high in the period 2012-2015: 27 tournaments in 2012, 201 tournaments in 2013, 222 tournaments in 2014 and 72 in 2015. The registered artisanal fishermen, in turn, accounts for 825,000 in the first half of 2017.

The sector moves several areas, such as the hotel and gastronomy sector, fishing shops, the nautical industry, metallurgical industry, guides specialized in fishing, as well as live bait makers, among others. This activity generates around 200 thousand direct and indirect jobs, says the National Association of Ecology and Sport Fishing (ANEPE- Associação Nacional de Ecologia e Pesca Esportiva).

Still according to ANEPE, water sports have a part of the motor and boat market that is aimed only at them. As can be seen, 80% of the 40,000 stern motors produced annually in Brazil are for the fishing market.

The tourism sector and its production chain are closely linked to the practice of sport fishing. The potential of this relationship is amplified, since sport fishing benefits both national and international tourism.

Although the profile of the international tourist is very different from the national profile, we can have a notion about it, based on a study done by the Ministry of Tourism called International Tourist Demand 2011-2015. This study was based on the opinions of international tourists who visited Brazil during this interval of time. In the international tourism segment, the Leisure category appears as the first (average of 49.14%) in the ranking of travel reasons made to Brazil. Nature, Ecotourism and Adventure appear as the second main motivation (within the leisure category) of international tourists, with an average of 18.68% (except in the year of the 2014 World Cup). Asked if they intend to return to Brazil, the average of those who answered yes was 95.56%. All results indicate an increase in relation to the measurement made by the previous study (2004-2008).

Regarding the type of accommodation used by international tourists, on average 49.98% stayed in hotels, flats or inns, and 28.64% relied on information from friends and relatives to organize the trip. The last data highlighted the importance of making a good impression for tourists and loyalty strategies (MTur), as well as the potential to be explored in the sport fishing sector, since leisure, Ecotourism, Nature and Adventure appear as Important reasons and factors for the motivation of international tourists. The importance of the Internet as a source of information used to organize trips is also highlighted, being in first place, since in the previous study showed that the main source of information used to organize the trip was the Friends and Relatives category (which now occupies the second place, with an average of 28.64%).

Profile of the sport fisherman

As this is a new segment, the available data is still not abundant. One of the best data sets available on the segment dates back to 2009 and was collected by MTur. Fortunately (as we have seen), the number of amateur fishing licenses continued to grow with the data that was up to 2014. Thus, the trend is that the numbers continue to grow in order to surpass those presented in this research.

  • In 2009 the licenses emitted by region were: North 5%, Northeast 22%, Centre-west 2%, Southwest 51% e South 22%.
  • Age range: 56,20% are between the ages of 31 and 50, and 29% between 51 and 70 years old.
  • Sex: male 95,55%.
  • Main means of accommodation chosen: 37,59% hotel/ inn, 44,46% house of friends and family, 39,72% camping.
  • Average expenditure: R$ 300.
  • Frequency of fishing environments:
  • High seas: 9,16%
  • mangrove: 3,43%
  • pay and fish: 34,65%
  • beaches and shores: 17,25%
  • reservoirs: 15,28%
  • rivers and lakes: 86,64%
  • What is the frequency of fishing:
  • 1 time per year: 9,50%
  • 2 times per year: 13,20%
  • Mor than 2 times per year: 28,50%
  • 1 per month: 33,40%
  • Every week: 15,40%
  • Online market

Another fact worth noting is that the online market for fishery products also has potential to be exploited. According to the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) released in 2014 through the Brazilian Institute of Geography (IBGE), 54.95% of Brazilian households have an internet connection; 76% of homes have computers. Smartphones are present in 80% of homes, becoming the main means of accessing the Internet in Brazil, surpassing computers.
This new scenario indicates a greater opportunity for the online sales of fishing products and for the promotion of the sector as a whole.

The MAP released research that also addressed the economic impact of fishing equipment in the 1st National Sport Fishing Tournament (2013). According to this survey, 21% of purchases of fishing equipment occurred online, being: 14% in national sites, 4% in international sites, and 3% in fishing forums. It is worth remembering that sport fishing is a growing sector, and also that the internet had a significant weight as a source of information used to organize the trips of international tourists who came to Brazil between 2011 and 2015.

Natural Wealth

Much of Brazil’s potential for the sector is due to its wealth of natural resources. Brazil has 100 fish species with a “sporting” value, about 8,500 km of coastline, 35,000 km of navigable rivers, a vast diversity of biomes (which diversifies the possibilities and scenarios of fishing), around 343 dams, 173 hydroelectric dams – an amount that easily surpasses 600 islands nationwide – 86 marine conservation units, 1,244,444 hectares of mangrove areas. Brazil also has 14% of the planet’s freshwater reserves, and its watersheds are:

  • Amazon Basin

With an area of 3.870.000 square kilometres;

  • San Francisco Basin

With an area of 640.000 square kilometres:

  • Tocantins-Araguaia Basin

With an area of 967.059 square kilometres;

  • Paraná Basin

With an area of 2.583.000 square kilometres;

  • Parnaíba Basin

With an area of 340.000 square kilometres;

  • Uruguai Basin

With an area of 365.000 square kilometres;

  • Paraguai Basin

With an area of 361.350 square kilometres;

  • Northeastern Oriental Atlantic Basin

With an area of 287.348 square kilometres;

  • Northeastern Ocidental Atlantic Basin

With an area of 254.100 square kilometres;

  • East Atlantic Basin

With an area of 374.677 square kilometres;

  • Southeastern Atlantic Basin

With an area of 229.972 square kilometres;

  • South Atlantic Basin

With an area of 185.856 square kilometres.

Better knowing sport fishing

The Ministry of Tourism classifies fishing into two categories, commercial and non-commercial.

  • Comercial:

Artesanal: Encompasses professional fishermen, which may occur autonomously or in a family-run economy. The fisherman can avail himself of partnership contract and small boats;

Industrial: Means fishing, for commercial purposes, practiced by a natural or legal person, involving professional fishermen employed or in a partnership scheme for quotas. Allows the use of small, medium and large vessels.

  • Non comercial:

Scientific: Is made with scientific purpose, and can be developed by individual or legal entity;

Amateur: Means fishing for leisure or sport. Must be practiced with equipment or equipment provided for in specific legislation. It can be practiced by Brazilians and foreigners;

Of Substance: Is intended for domestic consumption or non-profit barter. Must use equipment provided for in specific legislation

There is no consensual definition of sport fishing. The use of the term can range from fishing in competitions to hobby fishing. What we can say for sure is that their practice is understood within the amateur fishing classification.

  • Fishing modalities

To know the sector better, it is important to know about the different fishing modalities. Those cataloged by the Ministry of Tourism are:

• Ravine fishing – is a practice practiced at the edge of rivers, ponds, lakes or dams. Uses hand line, reeds, rods with reel or reel, and telescopic rods.

• Throwing Fishing – Can be made with natural or artificial baits. Predicting the behavior of the fish, the fisherman throws the bait at the points he thinks is ideal. With this, it gives movement to the bait to simulate the movement of an animal, later collecting the line.

• Trolling or trolling fishing – Bait (natural or artificial) is caught on the boat that moves at low speed. The movement of the boat makes the bait seem alive. Usually with the use of short and strong rods, having a better performance with the use of reel.

• Round fishing – Using the force of the current, the boat descends the river and the bait accompanies it. Rods and reels have been used in this mode.

• Fly fishing – It is a mode that makes use of artificial baits that are made to mimic the shape of insects and small animals.

•Underwater Fishing – It is a technique that requires knowledge of apnea. Artificial respiration equipment is not allowed in it. It can be made with or without the use of boats. The necessary equipment covers diving, snorkel, fins and gun masks (diving or arbalest shotgun).

Government support

The Federal Government has shown interest in promoting the sector. Among the reasons that led to this, is the promotion of the environmental awareness that the practice of sport fishing brings, and also the economic development of the regions that are a fishing destination.

Environmental awareness is promoted mainly by the widespread practice of “fish and release” within sport fishing. The climax is in catching the fish, usually having a photograph to save that moment. Then the fish is released into the wild. Thus the environmental impacts of fishing are minimized and the sustainability of both the ecosystem and the business is guaranteed. Certainly there are elements of risk such as the introduction of exotic species to the Brazilian fauna, so it is important that the sector seeks information, works together with government agencies and observes the legislation. This attention that the Government has given to the sector demonstrates the increase of its relevance, and is felt in the elaboration of public regulation policies (such as the determination of catch limits and the closed period) and development.

In 2015, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Ministry of Tourism already agreed to carry out studies aimed at developing the sector. In 2016, MTur participated in the seminar of Sport Fishing and Aquaculture: Participation of Social, Economic and Tourism Growth of Brazil at the headquarters of the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (FIESP). In the same year, MTur entered into a partnership with the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply with the purpose of forming an interministerial action plan to strengthen the relationship between fishing and aquaculture activities and tourism. The information collected by the government is of great value and has helped to improve the perception of the sport fishing market in its segment.


The objective of this text was to show the collected data of the best available sources to demonstrate and disseminate the growth of the sport fishing market in Brazil, providing information about the segment’s profile and also about the possibilities that the sector provides. 


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