Community-based tourism in an artisanal fishing marine reserve: Ways to value and maintain a traditional livelihood 


The Brazilian coastal zone has a high diversity and intensity of human uses. Tourism has emerged as an increasingly important activity of the coast of Florianópolis (capital of Santa Catarina State, Southern Brazil) being the third most important economic activity in the city. The Pirajubaé Marine Extractive Reserve (PMER) was created in 1992 (Presidential Decree No. 533), with the main goal of ensuring the livelihood of the traditional fishing community. Fishers take tourists on board to show them the area and serve them lunch from their catch. The Reserve is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) consisting of 1,712,08 hectares, including some terrestrial portions and a total of 260 fishermen.

With the fluctuation of the fishing activity, the introduction of community-based tourism in the PMER represents an alternative for fishermen, maintaining the sustainability goals of the MPA. The multi-use approach is a valuable strategy to promote the existing roles in the fishing and tourism activities, while simultaneously increasing the visibility of fishing communities in their society.

The focus of this case study is to understand the opportunities and challenges of a community-based tourism expansion in the PMER. The exchanges across the participating institutions and partners will provide a better conception of the existing opportunities to strengthen the PMER coastal community, their livelihood, and marine resource sustainability. This approach could address other demands in marine protected areas and could be replicated throughout the Brazilian coastal zone.

Major challenges that may be addressed in this project include:

How can community-based tourism be inclusive and gain the trust of the fishermen?

How will multi-use be addressed in the management and planning of Pirajubaé Marine Extractive Reserve?

How to include more fishers into the community-based tourism?

Use combination scenarios for Brazil study

Traditional fishing and community-based tourism:

In the PMER, the fishing activity has suffered great fluctuation over the last 20 years. In contrast, tourism is an activity of great importance in the city of Florianópolis. The multi-use scenario development, as part of this case study, will determinate how tourism activities can contribute to the fishing community. Due to integration of tourism into their activities, fishers may change the area where they fish and/or start fishing more in a certain area. The case study assessment will therefore also assess if spatial aspects of fishing activities will change as a result of increased tourist activity in PMER.

Overview of Pirajubaé Marine Extractive Reserve (PMER).

How will this information be used?

The Pirajubaé Marine Extractive Reserve community-based tourism is still in the early stage of implementation. There are currently some partnerships that aim to support tourism activities in PMER; for example, Santa Catarina Federal Institute of Education (IFSC) and Island Protected Area Group. There are still some key institutions that can have a great impact on the community-based tourism visibility in the city of Florianópolis, such as the municipal secretary of tourism. The results from the multi-use analysis will support the internal action of PMER, and the identification of key opportunities in promoting PMER community-based tourism in the context of the city of Florianópolis. At present, the research is going through the approval process by PMER Advisory Board.

Supporting stakeholders

1. ICMBio – managers of the reserve, managed all protected areas. 

2. Instituto Chico Mendes para conservação da Biodiversidade

3.  Associação Caminho do Berbigão – Fishers association

4.  Coletivo UC da Ilha – NGO that works with protected areas, projects and initiatives in Florianópolis 

5.  IFSC Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina – Educational institution with the degree on tourism and support the community-based tourism that happens in Florianópolis

6. Committee working group on the protected areas community based tourism – in this particular protected area ( )

Lead & contact


SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth EEIG

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DE–10827 Berlin



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