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International Waters: Colombia’s ‘Positive’ Approach

In contrast to Brazil, Colombia can export unlimited numbers of oscars.
In contrast to Brazil’s publicized three new import/ export laws, another South American country’s own freshwater legislation is going virtually unnoticed. Colombia’s Resolución 3532, issued in Dec. 2007 and in force since Dec. 2008, does much the same job as does its neighbor’s.

The Resolución includes a Positive List of 444 freshwater species that can be legally collected and exported, and follows the evaluation of two studies done in the Orinoco and Amazon basins, as well as an agreement carried out at a workshop held in Bogotá.

The legislation’s main aim is to ensure the sustainable management and utilization of Colombia´s ornamental fishery resources, thus achieving the necessary level of protection of its native species from excessive commercialization.

When compared with Brazil’s three new laws, Resolución 3532 is more accommodating. It lists no fewer than 444 species (as compared to the 250). It also includes 10 species whose fry and juveniles can be sold if they come from registered aquaculturalists.

Among these are well-known species such as the redtail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus) and the pacu (Colossoma macropomum).

There are prohibitions, too, where the juveniles of certain species of food fish cannot be collected and traded.

Perhaps the most significant differences between the Colombian and Brazilian documents relate to stingrays, two arowanas and the oscar. Eight species of freshwater stingray appear on the Colombian list, among which are four listed by Brazil. The oscar is also on it—its collection for ornamental purposes and subsequent export is banned by Brazil.

The arowanas, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum and O. ferreirai, can be exported from Colombia, but not from Brazil. No restrictions have been set for either, but the Colombian Institute of Rural Development will be recommending annual quotas. Still, Colombia has a distinct overall advantage over Brazil, just as most of its other exporting neighbors currently are. <HOME>


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