Protecting mangroves for the nation


New marine protected area in Brazil combines human well-being and biodiversity conservation

Caravelas, Brazil (June 9th, 2009) – The Brazilian government yesterday officially declared a new conservation area that will help protect one of the world’s most important coral reefs, and benefit thousands of people who depend on the nearby fisheries to make a living.

The Cassurubá Marine Extractive Reserve –which Conservation International (CI) and partners from the SOS Abrolhos Coalition played a key role in creating – is located in Abrolhos Bank, the Southern Atlantic Ocean’s largest and richest reef system, off the southern coast of Brazil’s Bahia state.

The new protected area stretches over 100,687 hectares (245,663 acres) of mangroves, estuaries and coastal habitats that are home to a vast number of crabs, sea turtles, shrimp, fish and shellfish -including species under threat of extinction – but was threatened by plans for Brazil’s largest shrimp farm. Cassurubá is home to 95% of the Abrolhos Bank’s mangroves, which makes it a key nursery site for many fish species of ecological and economic importance in the region.

The creation of the Cassurubá Marine Extractive Reserve also means that around 20,000 fishermen who depend on these marine species will benefit from the environmental services offered by the new reserve. The so-called “extractive reserves” allow the sustainable use of natural renewable resources, and the participation of traditional communities in the management process, combining human well-being and biodiversity conservation. It is the result of long standing requests by environmentalists and local communities due to threats by coastal real state development and over-fishing.

“Abrolhos is the most important fisheries region in Bahia state, and the Cassarubá estuary is a key nursery site for these species” said Guilherme Dutra, biologist and director of the Marine Program at Conservation International (CI-Brasil). “The creation of this reserve will help maintain marine ecosystems, local fisheries and traditional cultures.”


Photos available at:

For more information:

Patricia Malentaqui
Communications Coordinator
(1 703) 341-2471 or

Guilherme Fraga Dutra
Director, Marine Program
(55 71) 2201-0700 or

Notes to the editors:

Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI, visit

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