Print version ISSN 0104-7183
MURRIETA, Rui Sérgio S.. A mística do Pirarucu: pesca, ethos e paisagem em comunidades rurais do baixo Amazonas. Horiz. antropol. [online]. 2001, vol.7, n.16, pp. 113-130. ISSN 0104-7183. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-71832001000200006.
This article aims to analyze the practice and meanings that permeate pirarucu fishing in rural communities of the Lower Amazon, State of Pará, Brazil. The pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) is the largest scale fish of Amazonia and is also an important market product, due mainly to its privileged role in the regional cuisine. Pirarucu fishing is one of the earliest human activities of the Lower Amazon, dating back to pre-colonial times. For many fishermen who live on Ituqui Island, catching a pirarucu represents more than a economic security, but also a set of meanings and experiences ontologically structured in their everyday life and identity. Social conflict and personal disputes are intensified or lightened, and old affections and social ties are reinforced through the practices and encounters experienced during a fishing trip to one of the nearby lakes. Beyond the practice per se, these fishing trips trigger mnemonic and affective references to the landscape and the momentum of capture, and the sense of place, resulting in a processual unity intimately connected to personal and social meanings that cannot be compartmentalized. In the midst of so many motivations behind pirarucu fishing, aggressive disputes and irrational captures may take place. Fishing spots are kept secret and territorial bonds are protected. Rights to this resource and, by extension, over the meanings and emotions to which it is connected becomes, to a certain extend, a luxury aggressively protected by some. The decrease of the pirarucu stocks, new fishing technologies and the great demand and "mystique" still surrounding its capture have posed a dilemma to the fishermen: the survival of the pirarucu "fishing" collides with what the environmentalists have called the rationality of conservation.
Keywords : Amazonia; fishing; landscape; nature; pirarucu.