Flavor of the Amazon project takes sustainably managed red-scaled pirarucu fish to Rio de Janeiro

The “Flavor of the Amazon” project seeks to develop new markets for managed pirarucu, the biggest freshwater fish of the Amazon. The initiative comes from partnerships between the Maniva Institute and the Rio de Janeiro Bars and Restaurant Union (SINDRIO).

The project has five phases, starting with contacts with chefs, followed by lectures and a trip to the Amazon, and closing with a festival in Cadeg – a famous Market in Rio de Janeiro. The first phase of introducing chefs to the product has been completed, with the sustainably-produced pirarucu distributed to famous chefs in Rio de Janeiro, including Claude Troisgois, Roberta Sudbrack and others. They conducted a detailed analysis of the product, as well as creating new recipes to explore the pirarucu’s gastronomic potential.

According to Teresa Corção, who coordinated the Ecochefs group activities and helps administer the ‘Flavors of the Amazon’, the good reception of the chefs reinforces the importance of restaurants as the entrance of the product into the city:

“The acceptance has surprised me. Even the most demanding chefs, that doesn’t usually work with frozen products, loved the pirarucu. The high note was the soft taste, without flavor residue. I see great potential for restaurants and bars,” Teresa explained.

Pirarucu is the largest scaled freshwater fish species in the world, found mainly in the Amazon. The species is culturally, socially and economically important to the indigenous peoples and traditional communities in the region. Management of the fish population and the lakes they live has been happening since 1999, starting in the Sustainable Development Reserve in Mamirauá. Today, 34 protected areas with fishing agreements have been approved by IBAMA.

Management of the different areas depends on the social and practical profiles of the families and their communities. Awareness and interest has been growing in recent times due to the integrated nature of the project, bringing together local communities, NGOs and government organizations. The project was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Brazilian government and USAID, along with technical support from the US Forest Service, ICMBio, GIZ, OPAN, CSF, Mamirauá Institute, Chico Mendes Memorial, ASPROC, and community associations that work with sustainable development in the Jutaí Municipality.


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