Immediate social and economic impacts of a major oil spill on Brazilian coastal fishing communities

Mariana de Oliveira Estevo*, Priscila F.M. Lopes, José Gilmar Cavalcante de Oliveira Júnior, André Braga Junqueira, Ana Paula de Oliveira Santos, Johnny Antonio da Silva Lima, Ana Claudia Mendes Malhado, Richard J. Ladle, João Vitor Campos-Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In August 2019, a major oil spill hit nine Brazilian coastal states, affecting marine ecosystems and fishing communities. In this study, we assess the immediate social and economic impacts of this oil spill on fishing communities of the northeast coast. We conducted semi-structured interviews and focal meetings with 381 fishers and shellfish gatherers to understand the perceived socioeconomic impacts on different types of fishing. We also obtained information on fish consumption after the oil spill, which we compared with data prior to the oil spill from the same communities. Sales decreased by more than 50% for all types of fishing, strongly impacting local income generation. These communities, which are already social-ecologically vulnerable, have had their subsistence, food security and cultural maintenance strongly compromised. We argue that there is a clear need for coordinated state interventions to mitigation the impacts, considering it's environmental, social, economic, human health and political dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111984
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Artisanal fishing
  • Coastal fisheries
  • Fishery communities
  • Socio-ecological systems


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