The minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, arrived in Fernando de Noronha National Park on October 28 and, in a few days, left the mark of his management in the region.
In the company of Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, Minister of Tourism, Salles granted to the private initiative the Boldró Viewpoint, a federal property that, according to the terms of the call notice opened by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), will house services of food and beverage, souvenirs and reception of visitors for an indefinite time. On the 30th, together with the Secretary of Fisheries, Jorge Seif Junior, and the president of ICMBio, Fernando Cesar Lorencini, Salles announced the authorization for sardine fishing within the Fernando de Noronha National Park. The measure was celebrated by President Bolsonaro, who congratulated the Secretary of Fisheries in a post on social media.
As pointed out by O Estado de S. Paulo, the decision ignores a technical opinion contrary to the release issued by ICMBio itself in 2016. The document, to which the report had access, warns that “making an exception for sardine fishing may imply precedent for greater pressure for the release of other fisheries” and that “there is no motivation in the contexts of biodiversity conservation, economic or historical tradition that justify the opening of the activity”.
The government of Pernambuco, where the conservation unit is located, has also expressed itself against the Minister’s decision. José Antônio Bertotti Júnior, Secretary of Environment and Sustainability of the state, declared in a note sent to the Fantástico TV show that the measure, in the long term, “will lead to the fragility of protection in the country and in extreme cases interfere with sustainable tourism practices, since it may alter the food selectivity of the shark, and may bring risks of attacks on the human population”.
Ricardo Salles’ passage through the archipelago was also the scenario of an institutional crisis. In response to a comment by Rodrigo Maia, president of the Chamber of Deputies, who criticized the minister’s stance on environmental protection measures, Salles’ official profile responded to the post by calling Maia “Nhonho,” a nickname given to the politician by government supporters, in reference to a character in the Mexican series “Chaves”. After the repercussion, Salles claimed that his account was invaded and did not recognize the author of the comment.
According to a survey conducted by Folha de S. Paulo, every 23 days on average, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) requests the removal of Ricardo Salles’ minister for his actions against the environment. The frequency is due to the resistance of the Justice in complying with the request. Faced with the legal maneuvers by the prosecutors, which make it difficult to continue the process, the solution found is to appeal. “There has already been a postponement of a trial, erroneous distribution of an appeal, delay in citing the minister and even a challenge by the MPF’s Inspector General’s Office,” he said.