Transfer Region Santa Catarina State, Brazil

Click here to download the Imaruí case study fact sheet as PDF .

Transfer region description
Economic activities
Environmental problems and natural resources

Transfer Region Description
Imaruí is located in the center-south of Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil. It is situated at 109 kilometers from Florianópolis, the state capital, and 45 kilometers from Santa Rosa de Lima (Figure 1), the case study region from Project at Santa Catarina State.


The municipality was founded in 1800 by Azorean communities coming from Laguna and other municipalities in the south of Santa Catarina and north of Rio Grande do Sul. The region was found to be very prosperous for the settling of these communities due to the large natural resources including forests and salt water lagoons.

Actually Imaruí entails around 54 thousand hectares, with 11.672 inhabitants. The municipality is facing a population decline since 1992, when there were 15 thousand inhabitants. The majority of the population lives in rural areas (65%). The vulnerability to poverty is high, reaching 33% of the population, although extreme poverty reaches only 6% of the population. Working conditions are behind most of the coastal municipalities in the state. 56% of the population above 18 years did not complete elementary school and is working under “informal” rules (PNUD, 2010) .

Imaruí is known by its natural resources. It has the largest salted lagoon of Santa Catarina and 15% of its territory belongs to the Tabuleiro State Park (figure 1).

Figure 1: Location of the case study and transfer region in Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil.

Economic activities
The main economic activities are fisheries and agriculture. With respect to fishery shrimp, and crabs are the main products extracted and transported to Florianópolis and other states. Aquaculture is also very important and is mainly developed towards shrimp production. Imaruí has more than 8000 registered artisanal fishermen and is considered one of the most import shrimp production regions in Brazil.

Rice, manioc and sugarcane are the main agricultural products. Rice is planted in the lower lands near the lagoons. There is a large use of pesticides contributing to the increasing of the water resources pollution. In the last decade there was a significant increase of chicken production and a small decrease in the number of cattle, especially for meat production. The amount of cattle for milk production is growing and had an increase of 400% between 2003 and 2007 (IBGE, 2013 ).

Tourism activities are flourishing in the last years, especially ecotourism. Trekking, canoeing, paragliding, and other activities are slowly becoming a new source of income for the local population.

imarui_3 imarui_4
Figure 2: Church at Aratingaúba community, Imaruí, SC. Figure 3: Aquaculture production, Imaruí, SC.
imarui_5 imarui_6
Figure 4: River D’Una, Imaruí, SC. Figure 5: Lagoon of Imaruí, Imaruí, SC. (image Roberto Nascimento)

Environmental problems and natural resources
Imaruí faces many environmental problems. Deforestation of the native forest for agriculture expansion (mainly pasture, Eucalyptus, sugarcane and rice plantation) is the main problem at the mountain areas. Degraded pasture, lack of riparian forests and illegal hunting are threatening the Atlantic Forest remnants in the municipality, including areas inside of the Tabuleiro State Park.

The lagoon faces different interests and there is no zoning or management plan to regulate all the activities developed. Small scale and large scale fishery fight over the fisheries, and both have conflicts with the aquaculture farms. The agricultural activities, especially rice, use large amounts of pesticides that compromises the fisheries and the aquaculture farms. Urban and small communities dump sewages in the lagoon without any previous treatment are compromising the water quality.

Local forums are trying to discuss the different interests regarding the natural resource use, but so far there is no regulation established. Currently, Imaruí has a visitation center of the Tabuleiro State Park. The Center was implemented in the region 5 years ago, with the main goal of educating people towards the Park importance and to give support to the environmental police to stop illegal activities in the Park’s boundaries.