Conservation on the Amazon coast – An interview with Monique Barreto Galvao

"Rare Quotes" features leaders from across Rare putting the work into their own words.

March 27, 2024

In this Rare Quotes video, Monique Barreto Galvao, Vice President Brazil, Fish Forever, shares the importance of protecting Brazil’s Amazon coast for community livelihood and biodiversity.

Full transcript

Why is it vital that we protect the Amazon coast?
In Brazil, we are settled in the Para state, which is part of three states cover the biggest mangrove area continuously in the world.

Most of the people think about the Amazon rainforest, but the importance of Amazon coast are the mangrove. Mangrove you can get more carbon, 5 up to 10 more carbon sequestration than a traditional forest. It’s the nursery of the life. You have multiple species.

In the Amazon coasts, you have half of the year with freshwater and half of the year with salty water. The biodiversity is insane over there, and is way more than a traditional forest. I’m not saying that it’s more important, but together they are complementary. The Amazon coast is where Amazon meet the sea, and both ecosystems are very important for our well-being.

How does the Amazon coast support the livelihoods of coastal communities in Brazil?
The diversity of species is really important. If you have a season that you cannot catch a crab, and we have a specific word they call swata, which is the period of reproduction of a crab, they can get through which is another marisco (shellfish) that you have the diversity and you don’t rely on only one species. Get these different alternatives of livelihoods beyond one specific species is really important for them.

What is central to the way Rare and Fish Forever engage with Brazil’s coastal communities?
I think that we have a program very holistic that involve different stakeholders that are leading the community. So it’s not just a program to engage mayors or leaders from the government, which is Coastal 500, but we have initiatives to engage with women, with men, with youth. Different ecosystems that are in those places, they are engaged in a systematic way. So change is not just one pathway, it’s different pathways that together make the change.

What drives you to do the work you do and what gives you hope?
I think what drive me to do my work is to really believe that I’m not alone in this mission. That this mission is a collective action. And we are doing better not only for our families or in our hatcheries, but for everyone in the future.

I think the mindset is changing and we are thinking more in the vision of the future instead of the present. But what we are telling about the future is already happening now. This makes me feel hope and I’m engaged that we are moving to the right direction.