Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Illegal trade of aquarium species through the Brazilian postal service in Ceará State

Lívio M. Gurjão A C , Glaura M. L. Barros A , Daniele P. Lopes A , Daniel A. N. Machado A and Tito M. C. Lotufo B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Superintedência do IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis) no Ceará, Avenida Visconde do Rio Branco, 3900, Joaquim Távora, CEP 60055-172, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.

B Universidade de São Paulo – Instituto Oceanográfico, Praça do Oceanográfico, 191, Sala 149B, Butantã, CEP 05508-120, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

C Corresponding author. Email: livio.gurjao@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16257
Submitted: 18 July 2016  Accepted: 22 May 2017   Published online: 28 July 2017

Abstract

Brazil is one of the main suppliers of aquarium species globally, and Ceará state is a recognised trading centre for this activity. Despite Brazilian Postal Law forbidding the mailing of live or dead organisms, smugglers still use this service to transport aquarium species throughout the country. To assess this unlawful practice, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis) and the Brazilian Post and Telegraph Co. (ECT, Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos) conducted 57 confiscations involving domestic transportation only. The main origin and principal destination of the confiscated packages was south-eastern Brazil, especially São Paulo state, where package inspections must be intensified. Considering all groups of seized species, freshwater fish were by far the most represented organisms due to intense translocation of Betta splendens. Some of the confiscated marine fish, echinoderms and cnidarians are included in the Brazilian List of Threatened Species; thus, their exploitation is restricted or forbidden. In addition, only 18 of the seized species were native to Brazil, and just 12 of them occur naturally in Ceará state, which both raises concerns about potential bioinvasions and demands more control by the Brazilian authorities of smuggled species. Although some illegal traders were repeatedly caught mailing organisms, confiscations do seem to mitigate the illicit transportation of species to some extent.

Additional keywords: e-commerce, mailing of species, ornamental market, ornamental species.


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