amabo
 

Association of Residents and
Friends of Boipeba - Amabo

 

The social mission of Amabo is to better the life of residents, while protecting the natural resources of Boipeba.

The Association of Residents and Friends of Boipeba – Amabo – was founded on the 2nd of April, 1995. The Association has its headquarters in the town of Velha Boipeba, with the Island of Boipeba its focus.

 

e-mail: amabo@amabo.org.br

 

General Objectives

Contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of the community, bettering the quality of life of residents, without putting the environment at risk.

Collaborate in management of the Environmentally Protected Area of the Islands of Tinharé and Boipeba.

Promote education in general, and specifically education about the environment.

Look for solutions for basic sanitation problems (water, sewage, garbage).

Promote Ecotourism and control the flow of tourism on the Island of Boipeba.

Promote hands on education and training for jobs, using partnerships.

Contribute to the preservation of the environment as well as preservation and recognition of local culture, customs and folklore.

Promote artistic production, artisans, and cultural events.

 

Sustainable Development of the Island of Boipeba

 

In 1999/2000 the residents of Boipeba under the auspices of Amabo, conceived the idea of DESIBO, with the objective of bettering the lives of the local population, and developing economic activities, especially tourism, without putting the environment at risk.

Consequently, the Island of Boipeba was chosen as a model area in SEBRAE´s Local Development Program.

 

Environmental Education

Education is the basis for development in any country, as in the development of a human being’s personality. Learning and gathering knowledge is the first step towards demanding rights and becoming responsible. That is what it means to be a citizen,essential for solving social, economic, and environmental problems.

 
 

In the last few years, Environmental Education has become important as an instrument for mobilization and for society’s taking action, a result of gaining awareness about the causes and consequences of environmental dilemmas. The Federal Constitution refers to, in chapters about the environment, the obligation to promote public awareness in order to protect the environment, and the need to establish systematic programs of Environmental Education.

In this way, Amabo would like to see the population of the Island of Boipeba raise their consciousness about environmental issues, and subsequently learn about the causes and the consequences of environmental abuse. In agreement with official environmental directives, we should consider the environment in its totality, and understand Environmental Education to be a path of continuous improvement, developing critical thinkers and a spirit of cooperation in the community, awakening abilities which can translate into initiatives, when searching for solutions to problems related to the environment.

Amabo would like to contribute to a new perception of the world, taking action in a holistic way. The idea is to work together with the school system, local city officials, and state and federal offices, and not just cooperate with one specific program or government bureau.

The current model of economic growth has generated enormous unbalance. On one hand, there has never been so much wealth and abundance, and on the other hand, environmental destruction, pollution, and poverty, are increasing daily. Given this reality, Sustainable Development emerges as an attempt to conciliate economic development with environmental preservation. To achieve Sustainable Development, the protection of the environment must be considered an integral part of the process of development, and can not be treated separately. Sustainable Development promotes generation and distribution of wealth, bettering the quality of life for all of the community, taking into consideration, however, the planet’s healthy environment.

 
 

Because of the importance of our natural resources, and the necessity of protecting the ecosystems of Tinharé and Boipeba Island, the state government of Bahia created an Environmentally Protected Area (APA) in 1992. The Plan of Action developed for the APA Tinharé/Boipeba is the basis for the development of the DESIBO proposal. Amabo would like to focus on helping to manage the APA, supporting the work of all who are involved, contributing to put into practice the Plan of Action outlined by the state.

In partnership with the CRA – the Center for Environmental Resources, AMABO elaborated a synthesis of the Plan of Action, preparing written material for visitors and local residents of the Island of Boipeba.

Being well-informed, local residents will be better equipped to understand the APA objectives, and will be able to participate in projects which attempt to identify and solve major problems on the island. Informed about the fragility of local ecosystems, visitors will be able to help in the preservation of the environment, as well as receive firsthand knowledge about local culture, local fauna, and local flora.

 

Sustainable Development of Tourism

The explosion of tourism in the region was one of the main reasons for the government creating an APA on the islands of Tinharé and Boipeba.

Planning for a sustainable tourism can only be made possible with knowledge of natural resources and their potentialities. Measures for regulation of tourism in the region will be based on that knowledge.

 

Amabo proposes that investments in the area of tourism on the Island of Boipeba be made following the guidelines of National Ecotourism Policy set by the Ministries of Industry, Culture and Tourism, MICT, today the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and the Environment, MMA. They define Ecotourism as a “branch of tourism which makes use of, in a sustainable form, natural and cultural resources, stimulates its conservation, and looks to form an environmental consciousness, promoting the well-being of local populations.”

 
 

Ecotourism is an important alternative to sustainable economic development, making use of natural resources in a way which does not compromise the capacity for renovation and conservation. It’s an expanding market, growing an estimated 20% each year.

 

In Brazil ecotourism is of extreme importance for both economic and social development. Making use of existing ecosystems will provide new economic alternatives, making for a better quality of life in the community. Ecotourism will also reduce some of the negative impact caused by traditional tourism with its large groups of tourists. Smaller groups of tourists will have different expectations and a different relationship to the environment.

As such, controlling the flux of visitors and transportation, adopting parameters for implantation of infra-structures for tourism, and respecting and acknowledging the importance of local culture, are basic and indispensable conditions for the harmonious development of Ecotourism.

 

Projects

 

Amabo has been successful in implementing several projects, attempting to better the life of the local population while protecting Boipeba’s environment.

The first projects were the Civic-Social Assistance Program with the Brazilian Navy, donations of medicine for the Public Health Clinic in Boipeba, and courses in motor boat mechanics, fish smoking techniques and boating – a joint effort with the Federal Center for Technological Education (CEFET) in Valença.

In 1999 AMABO put together the DESIBO proposal – Sustainable Development of the Island of Boipeba, participating in the Second Congress and International Ecotourism Fair – World ECOTUR 2000 - in Salvador.

In 2003 AMABO signed an agreement with SENAC, the National Service for Commercial Learning, setting up classes for professional training. In May and June courses were given for hotel chambermaids, receptionists, waiters and waitresses, and cooks, with 86 villagers participating.

 

As a consequence of the DESIBO proposal, the Island of Boipeba was chosen as a model in Sebrae’s Program of Local Development, which resulted in an important partnership in Boipeba’s development process.

More information in portuguese

 
 
 

From 2000 - 2002 Amabo built the village mooring dock, working in partnership with CAR, the Development and Regional Action Company.

More information in portuguese

 
 
 

Between 2002 and 2003, Amabo was able to renovate the local church roof, working with TRANSPETRO and the Catholic community of Boipeba.

More information in portuguese

 
 

Environment Center M'boi pewa

In 10th of January of 2008, Amabo signed an accord with Petrobras to realize a proposal of environment education for Boipeba.

More information in english

 
 

Protecting the Environment

 

Amabo’s mission is to contribute to an orderly and sustainable development of Boipeba Island, striving to better the quality of life of the local population, while protecting the environment. With this objective, Amabo has been mobilizing the community, and denouncing that which is harmful to local inhabitants and visitors, as well as harmful to Boipeba’s ecosystem.

 
 

Natural Pools

 
 

The natural pools are formed by the reefs during low tide. They are rich in fauna and flora, with a wide variety of fish, lobster, starfish and octopus, as well as corals and aquatic plants.

 

The reef and pools are the most visited spots on Boipeba Island, in danger because:

- speedboats are anchored on top of the reefs and also inside the pool areas;
- boat captains do not respect speed limits, putting visitors in danger;
- by stepping on the corals, visitors damage them.

 
 

In 2003 Boipeba’s inhabitants took the initiative to try and control the number of visitors to the natural pools. At an Amabo meeting it was decided to put out buoys to section off exclusive areas for bathers, leaving all boats outside of the area.

 
 

Using their own means, villagers made 12 buoys with APA (environmentally protected area) written on them, anchored to the sea bottom with cement blocks.

 
 

Today we are still trying to make sure that captains of boats respect the delineated areas. We ask that visitors to the pools not step on the corals, not throw waste in the sea, and not give bread to the fish because of the yeast content.

 
 

Community Monitors

 
 

Since the year 2000, several companies involved in the oil industry have developed activities along the southern coast of the state of Bahia, where ecosystems are fragile, having enormous ecological and economic impact.

 

In March of 2003 tons of fish died in front of the beaches of Guaibim, Morro de São Paulo, Garapuá, Boipeba, Pratigi, and Maraú. These were large fish which live at the bottom of the sea. At the same time, the American company El Paso was drilling with a platform in front of the Island of Boipeba, and the PGS Company was working with seismic shocks between Itacaré and Ilhéus. The two companies were suspected of causing the death of the fish, and were investigated by the public district attorney’s office, Administrative Procedure P.A. No. 05/03.

This was to cause real doubt amongst people living in the region about the true impact of these oil-related activities, making apparent the need for more surveillance and monitoring. During puplic hearings for the licensing of the two oil companies PGS and Grant, fisherman and associated groups voiced the need for community participation in the form of a community monitoring group – Mac.

The representatives of the Oil and Nuclear Licensing Office ELPN/IBAMA respected the community needs, making mac’s concerns a part of the licensing procedure.

More information in portuguese

 

Paraffin Spill

 
 

On January 27, 2001, paraffin was spilled, dirtying the beaches of Boipeba and its surrounding areas. Amabo, worried about the health of the local population as well as the preservation of flora and fauna, informed both the CRA – Center for Environmental Resources – and Petrobras, the state-run oil company, about the spill.

 

Material was collected for analysis and it was discovered that the Italian Novamar International SRL ship “Pietro Barbaro” was the culprit. The paraffin had been found from the Islands of Tinharé and Boipeba, to the municipalities of Camamu, Itacaré, and Ilhéus. Petrobras mobilized specialized teams and contracted hundreds of villagers as well as boats and tractors in the region, in order to remove the paraffin. In 10 days, more than 80 tons of paraffin was removed, keeping the natural beauty of the region intact.

The environmental and socio-economic impact in Boipeba was profound. In addition to the pollution on the beaches, on riverbanks, and in mangroves, the press reports generated a negative image of Boipeba and its polluted valuable natural resources, damaging to the community. As a result of this spill, Petrobras accepted the community’s proposal for the restoration of the local church in Boipeba, and agreed to participate in the rebuilding of the roof and ceiling of the church, for centuries a symbol of local history.

 

 

Oil Spill

 
 

Oil spills are a constant threat to the environment. In January of 2003, a ship spilled great quantities of oil into the sea, reaching the region’s beaches.

 

Once more, AMABO made complaints to the CRA, Petrobras, and the District Attorney’s office in Valença. Once again, Petrobras contracted local villagers to clean up the beaches and reefs.

 
 

Dead Fish

In March of 2003, the Island of Boipeba was again the target of an ecological disaster. Tons of fish were found dead or nearly dead on the island’s beaches and in the sea. Local fisherman once again described the fish as being the large ones, which live at the depths of the sea.

 
 

On the 7th and 8th of March Amabo brought the news of this new disaster to the attention of the District’s Environmental Office in Valença, and the CRA. Two fish found dead were frozen for analysis. Both El Paso and PGS were drilling for oil and gas at the time of the disaster. The activities of these companies were suspect in the death of the fish.

 
 

On April 22, 2003, the District Court of the region organized a public hearing on the death of the region’s sea fauna, presided over by Dr. Marcelo Henrique Gruimarães Guedes, Valença’s District Attorney.

 

Amabo presented slides with photos of the visual pollution caused by platforms, along with photos of the paraffin and oil spills, with photos of the dead fish, demonstrating the enormous environmental impact of these events for the Island of Boipeba. All had begun in 2001.

 
 

El Paso’s representative spoke about El Paso’s work being developed in the region, and the care taken by the company in protecting the environment. He explained what procedures El Paso adopted in investigating the possible causes of the dying fish, promising a final report in May of 2003.

A representative of EVEREST, a company responsible for the study of the environmental impact of PGS’s activities, explained what investigative measures had been taken, promising results of analyses in three to four weeks.

Community participants at the hearings became indignant about the repeated ecological disasters, and demanded an ethical and independent investigation of the incident, with consequent indemnifications for damages.

El Paso and Everest agreed to pay for the investigative experts provided by the county. These experts would evaluate the studies and research promoted by these companies.

It was established that after the reports on the research done by these companies were completed, another public hearing would be set to present as well as discuss, the results which would be made public before the meeting.

On the 23rd of September, 2003, another public hearing was held to publicize the results of the investigation. The two challenged companies, El Paso and PGS, presented reports which did not hold the companies responsible for the death of the fish, not presenting any conclusive evidence as to why the fish had died.

The district attorney’s office did not discover what caused the disaster. The local population, along with local fishermen, was dissatisfied and disgusted with the results which ignored the importance of the disaster for the community.

 

Sludge on the Reefs

In March of 2003, a short time after the death of the fish, a very fine substance, brought by the ocean currents, was found on the reefs in front of the Island of Boipeba.

 

 

A diver had seen ships positioned near El Paso’s platform, pouring out some smoky or muddy substance. A few days later, divers noticed the substance brought by the currents, which dirtied the water, and then was deposited on the reefs. The substance had a strong odor, and according to the divers, was found to have a yellow color, turning black in contact with algae.

 

In areas affected by this substance, octopus and lobsters were not found, and today fishermen insist that there are less octopus and lobsters to be had.

 
 

Amabo again brought this to the attention of the District Attorney’s Environmental Office as well as IBAMA, and requested efficient environmental control of gas and oil drilling in the region. The community of Boipeba suggests creating a local board for this type of control, so that representatives of the community can accompany these activities and monitor the impact on the environment.