Itaipu Fishermen's Colony

Intangible Cultural Heritage - Niterói


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Itaipu Fishermen's Colony. Photo: Cris Isidoro/ Diadorim Ideias
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"In artisanal fishing, you do not seek the fish, the fish seeks you", says Aureliano Matos de Souza, also known as Cambuci, 56. His father, Aureliano Pereira de Souza, was one of the founders of the Fishermen's Colony in Itaipu. Grandson of fishermen, Cambuci has been fishing since he was 5. At the time, they only practiced dragnet and highnet fishing. "Nowadays, dragnet fishing is in decline", he says. For him, the true artisanal shore fisherman practices either "caiçara" or dragnet fishing. "Each fish requires a specific net", he explains. "In the past, everyone knew how to work the lines. Nowadays, there are few who know how to handle a net".


Dragnet fishing is done with a large net and four people, at least, pulling from one beach side to the other. "It used to be possible to catch all kinds of fish. Now, the most abundant are squids", says Cambuci, who maintains and repairs his own and the younger fishermen's nets.


Silene Ferreira de Carvalho Pinto, 55, says artisanal fishermen are the ones who "work in the summer to eat in the winter". She is one of the fishermen's wives who began working in the colony after their children grew up. She sells the fish her husband, Waldecir Pinto, 57, catches and sometimes spends 20 hours at the beach.


Vitória de Hollanda Ferreira, 60, also learned from her husband. Married to José Roberto Ferreira, she knows the benefits of each fish for health. "Dogfish fillet is good for the bones, the 'peruá' cures bronchitis", she exemplifies. The recipe is to roast the fish skin, blend it, and then eat it. Carmelita Siqueira Dias de Melo, 67, is one of the oldest in the region: shellfish fisher, she has been a crab fisher and, for the past 30 years, she dives to fish mussels.


Itaipu and Jurujuba Fishermen's Colonies were founded in 1921. At present, they sum up 850 members in Itaipu's, called Z-8 Colony. Also traditional is the "caiçara" fishing, in which the net with baits is set up at night, far from the beach. Each fisherman identifies his net with colorful floats and comes back the next day to get whatever has been caught.


The fish are sold at the beach on the same day, directly to consumers or in the "Tide Auction", with deals for packs of fish. Cambuci is proud to pass on what he has learned: "when the sea changes, there is no fish. It is a life of attention. You have to be cautious, because the future is uncertain".

General Information

Address: Itaipu
Phone: (+55 21) 2711-6246 (Jurujuba Fishermen's Colony)

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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