Alexandre Só de Castro
Fellow Since 2005
This profile was prepared when Alexandre Só de Castro was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Alexandre, an ecologist who grew up near a fishing village, sees that Brazil’s coastal areas and islands face a significant challenge: Industrial fishing and unchecked development are creating environmental, economic, and social hardship for these remote places and people. To ensure that challenges are managed in the best possible way, Alexandre turns to artisan fisher-people, whose participation he sees as being critical to the long-term sustainability of marine resources, fishing livelihoods, and island and coastal development. His Institute of Brazilian Islands (“Instituto Ilhas do Brasil”) gathers the collective knowledge and best practices of local residents and connects these to the larger discussion of marine resources management—a discussion now led by scientists and policymakers, with little input from the communities with generation upon generation of understanding about how to manage the sea and its commercial bounty. Now working in the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil, Alexandre plans to connect, in the next five to eight years, coastal and island dwellers along the country’s expansive coastline and, ultimately, to draw them together in a forum that will include representation from the world’s islands.