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Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago |2

Brazil in the mid Atlantic |3

Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Danielle de Lima Viana
Fábio Hissa Vieira Hazin
Jorge Eduardo Lins Oliveira
Marco Antonio Carvalho de Souza Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Recife, 2017
Copyright @2017 Brazilian Navy

Editors Photos
Danielle de Lima Viana Acervo Karl Mesquita Preface | Renato Batista Melo
Fábio Hissa Vieira Hazin Acervo PROARQUIPELAGO
Jorge Eduardo Lins Oliveira Alexandre Nunes
Marco Antonio Carvalho de Souza Alfredo Borie Mojica
Arquivo da Diretoria de Hidrografia e Navegação Foreword | Danielle Viana
Collaborators Bruno Macena
Cristina Engel de Alvarez Carlos Eduardo Leite Ferreira
Daniele Brunelli Carlo M. Cunha
Marcia Maia Daniel Viana Prologue | Fábio Hazin
Raimundo Arrais Danielle Viana
Reinaldo Antônio Petta Drausio Véras
Susanna Sichel Fabricio Gandini
Thomas Campos Françoise Lima The grand history of small place
Frederico Guaraldo de Andrade
Book Designer Jorge Lins
Via Design Lilian Sander Hoffmann
Lucas Santos Birds’ Island
Photo Editor
Luís Carlos Pinto de Macedo Soares
Claudio Coutinho
Luiz Sérgio Amarante Simões
Marcus Leoni/Folhapress
Jennifer Sarah Cooper Matias do Nascimento Ritter The Geology of the Spspa: An Approaching
Depto. de Línguas Estrangeiras UFRN Osmar Luiz
Natalia Alves Bezerra
Patrícia Luciano Mancini
Danielle Viana Paulo H. Ott Underwater Universe
Jorge Lins Ronaldo Bastos Francini Filho
Pollyana Roque Sibele Mendonça
Tatiana Leite
The Research Station of St Peter and St Paul Archipelago

S149 Saint Peter and Saint Paul archipelago : Brazil in the mid atlantic / organizers Danielle de Lima
Viana ... [et al.] ; translation Jeniffer Sarah Cooper ; photos Alexandre Nunes ... [et al.] ; The Man and The Nature
collaborators Cristina Engel de Alvarez ... [et al.] ; preface Renato Batista Melo ; prologue
Fábio Hissa Vieira Hazin. – 2. ed. – Recife : Vedas Edições, 2017.
203p. : il.
Discoveries and Discoverers
Includes bibliography.
ISBN 978-85-67862-02-6

1. SAINT PETER AND SAINT PAUL, ARCHIPELAGO – BRAZIL – HISTORY. 2. SAINT Acknowledgments | Marco Antonio Carvalho de Souza
– PICTORIAL WORKS. I. Viana, Danielle de Lima. II. Cooper, Jeniffer Sarah. III. Nunes, Alexandre.
IV. Alvarez, Cristina Engel de. V. Melo, Renato Batista de. VI. Hazin, Fábio Hissa Vieira.

CDU 918.1
CDD 918.1
PeR – BPE 17-155
Photo Credits
At the moment the Research Station turns nineteen years of continuous operation, I have the great pleasure to
present this new edition of the book that gather the research carried out in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipe-
lago Program (PROARQUIPELAGO).

Since the inauguration of the first Station in June 25, 1998, researchers and Navy personnel have kept the Bra-
zilian flag hoisted in the North Hemisphere, ensuring the right to add an area of 450.000 km² to our country’s
Exclusive Economic Zone.

Besides that, as it is an uncommon formation of islands surrounded by rich biodiversity, the region provides
unique conditions for research. Since its inauguration, more than 1.300 researchers have taken part in scienti-
fic expeditions coordinated by the PROARQUIPELAGO. They have carried out studies of geology, geophisics,

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

biology, oceanography, meteorology and sismology and this book makes these studies available to the public.

The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago is 1000 km away from the coast of Rio Grande do Norte state, being
the only set of Brazilian oceanic islands above the equator (00°55,01’N and 029°20,76’ W). The small rocky
islands rise from abyssal depth, around 4.000 m, with an underwater area of 17.000 m². They were formed by
an abyssal mantle outcropping that occurred due to a geological evolution associated to the Saint Paul tectonic
fracture in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The low altitude of the islands is dangerous to navigation, especially at night and during bad weather. These
were the conditions of the first shipwreck recorded in 1511, when a fleet left Portugal towards Indies. However,
a ship called “Saint Peter”, was torn from the others and hit the islands. The providential rescue came from
another ship called “Saint Paul”. That is the reason for the name of the Archipelago, which remains to this day.

Since 1529 the islands have been on Portuguese maps and their possession by Brazil has never been contested.
In 1930 the first lighthouse was built by the Brazilian Navy at the highest point, at 18 meters from sea level. It
took one year to build it and was later destroyed by an earthquake. A ship called Belmonte, which was involved
in the construction of the lighthouse, gives name to the main island of the Archipelago.

At the Archipelago’s Research Station, generations of researchers, both undergraduate and graduate from many
Brazilian universities, have carried out their studies in that open-air laboratory, where there are no beaches, the
sea is sometimes choppy and the weather is hot and humid. These scholars have had their perception challenged
by endemic species of migratory fish, which stop at that region to search for food, as well as by seismic activities
in this sanctuary in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the scenario we have the privilege of seeing in this book, which awakens our curiosity and leads us to
dive in “ Saint Peter and Saint Paul” to reveal the secrets of that natural world. I hope that by highlighting the
scientific vocation and strategic importance of these Islands, this publication may also serve to stimulate interest
in our Blue Amazon and the understanding of the importance of the sea and its resources for the development
of Brazil.
Renato Batista Melo
Rear Admiral
Secretary of the Interministerial Commission for Sea Resources
“Is it far?” you ask. No! It isn’t far, it’s very, very far... To arrive takes an average of four days from the Port
of Natal, over 1,100km of treacherous sea conditions, requiring great physical and psychological strength
for those who accept the challenge of conducting research on the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago. Con-

sidered by many as an inhospitable site, there are many characteristics that make the St. Peter and St. Paul

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Archipelago a special and fantastic place, on many levels.

Before anything else, it is important to highlight the geographic location of this tiny piece of Brazil. We
are speaking of the only set of Brazilian Oceanic islands located in the Northern Hemisphere and strategi-
cally situated between the continents of South America and Africa, a fact that has contributed to a unique
condition for conducting research in a wide array of scientific fields, to which it provides a better unders-
tanding of the dynamic of insular ecosystems and their intricate ecological processes in the Atlantic Ocean.

With low altitudes, outside of the water – the maximum height on St. Peter’s Island being 18 meters –
the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago is, however, the tiny tip of a gigantic rock construction, which has
a base that sits 4,000 meters deep under the sea surface. Formed by six larger islands and four smaller
one, the Archipelago has small dimensions, the largest island being Belmonte, which spans 100 meters of
length and the width of its farthest points extending a mere 420 meters. It is totally devoid of beaches,
the vegetation is scarce and is covered with steep, sharp rocks, besides being subject to seismic activity.
At this site of such extreme conditions, the architect, Cristina Engel, from the Federal University of Espírito
Santo, projected a Scientific Stations that would hold up against the impact of Strong waves and constant
tremors, with the capacity to comfortably house four researchers for fifteen days at a time. The energy is
provided by solar panels, while the drinking water is obtained from reverse osmosis desalinization.

I had the honor, privilege and satisfaction to conduct specialization, Master’s and Doctoral research at this
very distinct site with its unique characteristics. Subsequently, I have a strong tie to this place, not just for
being a research site, but for being one of the last and most important and fascinating Brazilian oceanic
frontiers, which taught me, among other things, the value of what is truly important.

This book represents the result of a unique selection of photographic records that were taken by resear-
chers who had the privilege to visit and investigate this mysterious and seductive site, and which has such
great relevance to the Country. This is Brazil in the middle of the Atlantic! Visit it, and become enchanted
Danielle Viana
Marine Biologist - UFRPE
Nineteen years have already passed by, since the first research started in Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
(SPSPA). From the seed planted by the Interministerial Secretariat for Marine Resources (SECIRM- Secretaria
Interministerial para os Recursos do Mar), in the late nineties, a magnificent tree with a mighty trunk grew.
With its roots deeply entrenched in the marine sciences, it fructified in many scientific publications and results
of great biological and socioeconomic significance for the Brazilian nation. All these results would not have
been possible if it had not been for the logistic support of the Brazilian Navy and the inestimable contribution

of its institutional partners, such as the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico), the Brazilian Institute for the Environment
and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA- Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais
Renováveis), Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (UFRPE- Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco),
Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN- Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte), Federal
University of Espírito Santo (UFES- Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo), among many other research and
educational institutions, as well as private and governmental agencies, which either directly or indirectly have
supported the studies developed in SPSPA.

To keep a research station 1,100 km away from the closest point in the Brazilian coast, in the middle of the
Atlantic Ocean, at one third of the distance between Brazil and Africa, in waters with more than 4,000 m dep-
th, is not an easy task, to say the least. What for many may be seen only as a bunch or rocks lost in the sea,
inhabited only by seabirds and no natural vegetation, for the scientists working there it is no short of a water
paradise, with plenty of fish, sea turtles, dolphins and so many other creatures of an extremely rich marine
fauna, full of secrets to be uncovered. Due to its strategic geographic position, between the northern and the
southern hemispheres, and the American and the African continents, the SPSPA offers unique conditions for
research development on the several species - some endemic - that utilize this insular ecosystem as a home or
as an important segment of their migratory routes.

The mental and physical efforts demanded from the scientists participating in each expedition are thus fully
compensated by the discoveries and unprecedented results achieved by the various researches developed in
such a corner of Brazilian territory, so inhospitable and remote, as it is mysterious and fascinating. The occupa-
tion of the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago started in 1998, with the installation and inauguration of the
Research Station in Belmonte Island, the largest in habitable area. Such occupation guaranteed the Brazilian
rights over the 450 thousand square kilometers of Economic Exclusive Zone around it, over which the country
has the exclusive right to explore, exploit, conserve and manage the natural resources present there. Along the-
se 16 years, the Brazilian Navy has certainly all the reasons to be proud of its role in defending and protecting,
together with the Brazilian people, this important area of ecological richness and biodiversity.
Fábio Hissa Vieira Hazin
Scientific Coordinator of PROARQUIPELAGO Program
Professor of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture – UFRPE
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Raimundo Arrais If we consider the geological age of the rock formation currently known as the St. Peter and St. Paul Archi-
Professor in the Department of History and the
Graduate Program in History – UFRN pelago (SPSPA) – dozens of millions of years old – its recorded history seems very recent, but in relation to
the phase of the European occupation of the Americas, at the turn of the 15th century to the 16th century,
its history is a long one, the same age as the Portuguese occupation of the Americas2. The St. Peter and
St. Paul rocks, measuring a little more than sixteen thousand meters of exposed rocky surface, made their
debut into history at the beginning of the Modern era – rocks in the middle of the route of the great wave of
maritime expansion that crested at the end of the 15th century. This expansion was responsible for reducing
the size of the known world, comprising immense stretches of land for exploitation and colonization, and
inaugurated an era of relocations of masses of humans and goods over the high seas.3

1 This text is the result of the research Project From the cliffs
The rock formations were mentioned for the first time in a passage by the chronicler João de Barros, who
to the Archipelago: the emergence of the St. Peter and St. Paul reported about the night, in 1511, when a ship from a fleet heading to Mozambique had run into some ro-
in scientific research history (Edict MCt/CNPq Nº026/2009 –
Archipelago and Oceanic Islands Program), with the help of
cks: “on a rock you can find in the midst of a particular batch of water lilies, which the ship, São Pedro, ran
CNPq Technical Assistance interns, Flávia Emanuely Lima Ribeiro, against at night”, and “owing to this danger, the rock received the name São Pedro, which to this day has
and PROPESQ-UFRN intern, Giovanni Roberto Protásio Bentes
Filho, during 2013/2014.
the spirit of our sailors about it”.4 Much later, this “St. Peter’s Rock” was called, “St. Peter and St. Paul” and
thus incorporated the name of the ship that came to the rescue of the ship, St. Peter. The rocks then carried
2 “The origin of the SPSPA dates between 100 and 35 million
years...”, VASKE JUNIOR, Teodoro et al. Arquipélago de São with them this remote memory at the cost of the audacity of those who crossed, against the still unknown,
Pedro e São Paulo, aspectos locais. In; Arquipélago de São Pedro maritime tides, winds and storms. After that night in 1511, almost three centuries passed in silence, inter-
e São Paulo: história e recursos naturais. Org. Teodoro Vaske
Junior et al. Fortaleza: NAVE/LABOMAR UFC, 2010, p.34. rupted here and there by brief reports left by some crew that approached the rocks or sailed wide of them,
on viewing their shapes from afar. Whichever way, even with these sparse, vague recounts, and data about
3 BROWN, Cynthia Stokes. A grande história: do Big Bang aos
dias de hoje. Trad. Vitor Paolozzi. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização their location, and cartographic register, all this brought the rocks into the consciousness of seafarers. The
Brasileira, 2010, p. 304. islands appeared on maps of the time as Portuguese rock formations, sticking out from the surface of the
4 Second Decade –Asia of João de Barros: From the Actions of water, avoided by navigators (on a Spanish map they were called escolho, obstacles), located on the routes
Inhaumá-class corvette, the Portuguese during the age of Discovery and conquest of
the seas and lands of the East – 1628. Book Seven – Chapt. II.
that linked Europe, Africa and America, and even when passing to Brazilian ownership they received little
near the St. Peter and
St. Paul Archipelago National Library of Portugal, p. 164. reference in official documents of the new nation.
5 LATOUCHE, Serge. L’occidentalisation Du monde. Paris: St. Peter and St. Paul became part of the national territory through a tacit agreement between nations, or
La Découverte, 2005, p. 31.
simply due to a general indifference toward it, since its isolation, small size, inhospitable rocky surface, and
6 ROUC, Jules, Lesexplorations dês océans ET dês therefore uselessness in agricultural exploitation, made permanent human presence an impossibility, and
continents de 1815 à nos jours. In Les expllorateurs, p.
863-869.In Les explorateurs. (Dir. L. H. Parias). 3. Ed. Paris: the imperialist nations were very busy with big business, extraction and transporting gold and silver, exploi-
Robert Laffont, 2005, p. 863-869. ting tropical agricultural products, trading slaves and goods that symbolized the success of the nations of
7 KOLSOW,Tony. The silent deep: the Discovery, ecology, that period. However, the rock formations were far from ‘belonging’, as they say, to the national life. Under
and conservation of the deep sea. Chicago: The University
of Chicago Press, 209, p. 25.
Brazilian ownership, they were a forgotten good, similar to some worthless inheritance that the new nation
had received from the Portuguese.
8 DELANO’S voyages of commerce and Discovery: Amasa
Delano in china, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and South
America, 1789-1807. Massachusetts: Berkshire House
Up until the end of the 19th century, the most significant registers about the rocks originated from a specific
Publishers, 1994 (1817). source: oceanic research activities, stimulated by investments from the modern States and the academy of
science, financing expeditions that, from the 18th century, on a large scale, navigated the same routes used
by the conquerors and merchants. This convergence was not surprising, since the colonial conquest is more
than a military or political action, it “participated also in the total domination of nature. The maritime ex-
ploration of the 16th century preceded the scientific exploration of the 18th century. Control over Nature’s
riches, and the souls of folks comprised the encyclopedic inventory of the cosmos”.5
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These numerous research expeditions organized by scientific societies and by governments of various na-

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tions set out in search of knowledge about the oceans – a knowledge that was constructed by measuring
depths and temperatures of the sea, and the repertoire of marine life.6 In 1871, for example, the British Royal
Society set the goals for the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror expeditions, which were headed to the Antarc-
tic: to investigate the physical conditions of the marine depths, to determine the chemical composition of
the water and analyze the physical characteristics and chemical composition of the material in the ocean’s

It is no exaggeration to say that, in the 19th century, the St. Peter and St. Paul formation entered the spo-
tlight through the efforts to gain knowledge about the oceans, and that these rocks, from the beginning,
inspired a type of vocation that would be decisively consolidated at the end of the 20th century: to serve for
scientific research. The list of expeditions to which the rocks names are attached is considerable: the 1802
Tellichery frigate expedition, the 1825 French frigate Herminone expedition, and the 1839 HMS Erebus
Adapted by Nick Springer,
copyright – 2010, Springer
and HMS Terror expedition. However, previously, on the 23rd of December in 1799, the North American
Cartographics, LLC.Cited captain Amasa Delano landed on the rocks. The captain dedicated three paragraphs to the description of
by Winchester, Simon.
Atlantic: great naval battles,
an afternoon and one night spent on the rocks, in which he comments about the danger that they present
heroic discoveries, colossal to navigators traveling at night. Amasa Delano also revealed the scientific and gastronomical curiosity of his
storms and a vast ocean
with a million stories. Trad.
crew, to his readers, who tried, but did not like much, the flavor of the bird eggs that were abundant on the
Donaldson M. Garschagen, rocks during this time.8
São Paulo: Companhia das
Letras, 2012, p.104.
There are three species of resident seabirds on the
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St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago: Brown Booby

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(Sula leucogaster), Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus),

and the Black Noddy (Anous minutus). They use the
Archipelago as a place to eat, rest and nest. The Bro-
wn Booby is one of the nine species belonging to
the Sulidae family and one of the three species of
Boobies that reproduce in Brazil.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 18
(Sula leucogaster)
Brown Booby Family nest

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 19

The Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) Male Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster)
presents sexual dimorphism. Females
reach approximately 80 centimeters Males are smaller, having 75 centimeters of
in length, 150 centimeters in length and 140 centimeters of wingspan,
wingspan and have yellow coloring with blue coloring around the eyes.
around their eyes.
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
The mating behavior of the Boobies can easily be ob-
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served. Curiously, it has been verified, on more than

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one occasion, that some males have more than one

partner. According to results obtained by specialists,
the number of females is 12% higher than males,
which could explain this behavior. Reproduction oc-
curs throughout the entire year with the greatest in-
tensity between the months of February and March.
An example of a
young Brown Booby
(Sula leucogaster)

To ensure successful reproduction, Boobies generally

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hatch 2 eggs. However, only the strongest hatchling
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

survives, since competition for food makes the deve-
lopment of both impossible.

The nests located near the waterline are frequently

caught by surprise by bigger waves crashing ashore.
The result of which, at times, is the loss of eggs that
are swept away by the force of the water. At other
times, it can merely mean the hatchlings just get a
good bath.
With very little space for their
nests, many birds suffer the
damaging effects of the strong
waves that pummel the island.
When this happens, the hatchlings
are whisked away from their nests
or at the very least drenched, and
drying out is slow even in the
high temperatures.
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 28

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 29

Brown Booby (Sula
leucogaster) nesting
colony on the island.

Some of these individual birds (around 70%) occu-

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py the Belmonte Islet, where a dense nesting colony

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

is found, home to approximately 100 nests. All the

available space on the most elevated sections of the
Archipelago is occupied, which results in high den-
sities – 6 birds per square meter on average. The
Boobies are extremely territorial and, consequently,
there are constant fights for territory they frequently
end up invading others’ space on landing.
Black Noddy
(Anous minutus)
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus), and the Black Noddy

(Anous minutus) belong to the Laridae family. The Bro-
wn Noddy is found throughout the tropical and sub-
tropical seas, while the Black Noddy is restricted to the
tropical Atlantic and Pacific.

The Brown Noddy is very similar to its partner of the

same gender, however, the Black Noddy, are easily
distinguishable in terms of gender. Visually, the Brown
Noddy is bigger and less dark than the Black Noddy.
Besides this, they present nests that are entirely diffe-
rent from one another. While the first takes advantage
of small depressions in the surface of the rock, mainly
Brown Noddy
on Belmonte Islet, the second uses exposed coasts such
(Anous stolidus) as the Barão de Teffé islands, and St. Peter and St. Paul.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 34

(Anous minutus)
Black Noddy nest
(Anous stolidus)
Brown Noddy nest

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 35

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 36 A couple of Brown
Noddies (Anous stolidus)
Baby Brown

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 37

Unlike the Brown Noddy, the Black Noddy uses the
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excrement of the feces as “cement” to build their

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

nests. The birds of this species are very sensitive to

the approach of humans, easily abandoning their
nests when people disembark on the islands where
they nest.

Black Noddy
couple nest
(Anous minutus)
During the day, when they are not fishing, resident
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birds of the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago com-

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monly use the footbridge as a rest area to dry or

clean their wings. When the Boobies cover the foo-
tbridge, it’s a challenge for researchers to cross wi-
thout getting pecked.
Red-footed Booby
(Sula sula)

The St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago is occasionally

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visited by other species. Vaske et al. (2010) observed

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the Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra), the Red-footed

Booby (Sula sula), the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis),
the Western Reef Heron (Egretta gularis), the Dark-
-morph Egret (Egretta spp.) the Common Kestrel
(Falco tinnunculus) the Magnificent Frigate Bird (Fra-
gata magnificens), the Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata)
and the Lesser Moorhen (Gallinula angulata), along
with the two migrant species: Ruddy Turnstone (Are-
naria interpres) and Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica).
Also added to the list are: the Rock Dove (Columba
livia), the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) as well as
the Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), among others
that are yet to be identified.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 44

(Sula sula)
Red-footed Booby

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 45

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 46

(Tringa flavipes)
Lesser Yellowlegs
(Sterna fuscata)
Sooty Tern

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In February of 2006, researchers on the St.
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Peter and St. Paul Archipelago registered the

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presence of two cranes with dark plumage.

Analyzing the photos, the researchers were
able to identify the birds such as the Western
Reef Heron (Egretta gularis), probably origi-
nating in Africa, and a species that until then
had only been observed twice on the Fernan-
do de Noronha Archipelago. The animals re-
mained on site, healthy and feeding, at least
until September of 2006.

Little Egret
(Egretta garzetta)
A Columbia livia,
aka Rock Dove or
Common Pigeon, of
unknown origin
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
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The Common Kestrel

(Falco tinnunculus),
an occasional visitor
of the Archipelago
The Cattle Egret
(Bubulcus ibis) with
bridal plumage

In a place with immersed dimensions so narrow, such

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as the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago, competi-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

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tion for space is always intense and all of the structu-

res are used as perches for resting.
Brown Boobies
(Sula leucogaster)

On the rocks, we find only two species of birds –one

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species of pelican and another of gull, both so gentle

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and stupid, perhaps in virtue of not being accusto-

med to seeing visitors, I could have knocked out as
many as I wanted with my geological hammer.

Charles Darwin
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The British environmentalist passed through the

Archipelago on his historic travels aboard the HMS
Beagle (HMS=Her Majesty’s Ship) –a ship that
traveled the world between 1831 and 1836. From
this experience he produced the book: The voyage
of the Beagle.

About the SPSPA, he wrote: On the rocks, we find

only two species of birds –one species of pelican and
another of gull, both so gentle and stupid, perhaps in
virtue of not being accustomed to seeing visitors, I
could have knocked out as many as I wanted with my
geological hammer.

In February of 1832, Darwin recounted that the most

extraordinary scene he witnessed at this location
was being surrounded, on all sides, by birds that he
observed remained perfectly still in the presence of
humans. Darwin became fascinated with the archipe-
lago, and was one of the first to suggest that is was
unique among the oceanic islands.
The smallest Brazilian oceanic archipelago is St. Peter
and St Paul Archipelago, also known by St. Peter and
St. Paul Rocks (Fig.1). It is located at the mid equato- covering of quaternary age, are constituted of clastic
rial North Atlantic Ocean (0º55´02´´N; 29º20´42´´W), sediments derived from the biogenic activity and ba-
about 510 nautical mile (1.100 km) from the Brazi- sement, cemented by calcium carbonate, like beach
lian-coast (Calcanhar Cape-RN) and about 985 nauti- rocks, that was designated of Saint Peter and Saint
cal mile (1.824 km) from the African-coast, just to the Paul Formation (SPSPF) (Campos et al., 2009). The
north of the St. Paul Fracture Zone. This archipelago presence of thin marine-terraces points to several
correspond to the pinnacles of a submarine moun- paleo levels above the present sea level. This level,
tain designated of Atoba Ridge (Maia et al, 2016). In considered with a variety of lithofacies, stratifications
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relation to the other oceanic archipelagos, the SPSPA and fossils in the SPSPF, suggests that the SPSPF was

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

show peculiar characteristics, because is only formed deposited under a progressive sub-aerial regime do-
by mantle rocks and a small sedimentary covering. minated by waves and that the SPSPA was below the
The first references about the peculiarity of the ar- present sea level at the beginning of the Neogenic.
chipelago due to Renard (1879) that described him The 14C age measurements on the Holocene waterli-
as a peridotite serpentinized ultramafic body and Da- ne and subtidal deposit from SPSPA after correction
rwin (1891), who said that the archipelago was not for hydro-isostatic sea-level changes indicated near-
volcanic. The origin and age of SPSPA are in doubt, -steady uplift during the last 6.600 years at an avera-
since it is not convincing that the Exposure of such ge rate of ~ 1.5 mm/yr and the teleseismic evidence
large volume of ultramafic rocks resulted from an suggest that uplift was episodic. Local seismicity su-
abnormally cold upper mantle or cold lithosphere in ggest a predictably dominated by strike-slip mecha-
the Equatorial Atlantic. This archipelago were either nisms but there have been some significant (Mb ≥
part of an extensional flexural ridge (a protrusion), as 5.4) compressional events too (Campos et al., 2010).
observed in other transform faults or linked to com-
Thomas Ferreira da Costa Campos
pression and are part of a major lithospheric mantle Susanna Sichel
Marcia Maia
uplift due to transpression at the transform bounda- Daniele Brunelli
ry by the action of St. Paul Fracture, ie, between the Reinaldo Antônio Petta
clash between the South-American and African tec-
tonic plates (Campos et al., 2007; Maia et al., 2013,
2016). It is estimated that their formation took pla-
ce during 10-5 Ma. The emerged part is composed Figure 2: Representative hand samples from emersed rocks
of St.Peter & St. Paul archipelago, Equatorial Atlantic, Brazil:
of serpentinized peridotite mylonite and kaesurtite
a) Peridotite mylonite; b) Kaersutite mylonite; c) Sepentinized
mylonite (Fig.1; 2). This last rock also shows an un- peridotite mylonite: c1: Surface of sample, c3, where we can see
the enhancement of joints caused by the leakage of sea water;
certain origin. The mylonitization obliterated all pri-
c2: Peridotite mylonite with low degree of serpentinization; c3:
mary textures of these rocks. Concomitantly, the ser- Peridotite mylonite moderately serpentinized; c4: Peridotite
mylonite with high degree of serpentinization; d) Banded peridotite
pentinization through pervasive hydrothermal fluids
mylonite showing milimeter layers of peridotite and Kaersutite: d1:
and/or seawater actions during late tectonic move- Figure 1: Geological map of St Peter Surface view of layers of peridotite (brownish yellow) and Kaersutite
and St Paul archipelago, Equatorial (black); d2: Internal view banded peridotite mylonite (polished
ments fractured even more the rocks. The emerged Atlantic, Brasil, and sampling points surface) where can see in the layers of kaersutite some vein of
part of some islets SPSPA still show a sedimentary (apud Campos et al., 2010). carbonate (White) and in side fracture some serpentine.
A school of Blue Runner
(Carangoides crysus)

The obvious beauty of St. Peter and St. Paul is held

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on the rocks, in the wildlife of birds, crabs and foamy

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

waves spraying in the wind, but below the surface

the most valuable treasures of this unique place are
hidden. It is a treasure shared with few as the diving
in this area, besides being risky due to the depths
and the strong currents, is only authorized for the
Brazilian Navy.
(Caulerpa racemosa)

Compared to other insular environments in equato-

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rial regions, the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago is

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

still considered an area with a low level of diversity

of fish species (approximately 120 species registered
to date). This could be both a result of geographic
isolation, and the low diversity of the habitats found
in this locale.
Pudding Wife
(Halichoeres radiatus)
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to register a

new species into science, Physiculus sp., a demersal
that was found during deep sea prospecting and is
now in the description phase.
The Saint Paul’s Gregory
fish (Stegastes sanctipauli),
is one of the most abundant
species in the Archipelago

Considering its small dimensions, the Archipelago

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presents a considerable number of endemic species

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

(six as of the present). Here we present the photo-

graphic registers of three of them. On the opposi-
te page, a young St. Paul’s Gregory fish (Stegastes
Triplefin Blenny, Enneanectes smithi
Discovered in 1979, is one of the
endemic species of the Archipelago
Oblique Butterflyfish
(Prognathodes obliquus) is
another endemic species in
the Archipelago, but just
seem below 40m deep
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

This species of Whitespot Moray (Muraena pavo-
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nina) is one of the most abundant in the Archipe-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

lago. There are registers of up to four specimens
in the same den.
Goldentail Moray
(Gymnothorax miliaris)
hidden among bushes of Mottled Conger Moray
the algae Caulerpa (Enchelycore nigricans)
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
Scrawled Leatherjacket Angel Paru
Filefish (Aluterus scriptus) (Pomacanthus paru)
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Whitespotted The Whitespotted Filefish
Filefish (Cantherhines macrocerus)
(Cantherhines with different colors –the
macrocerus) dark brown one with white
spots is the adult
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Find the seven errors puzzle. These two Moray eels are solitary and spend
moray eels look like the same species most of the time insidecrevices. In
but they actually are diferent ones: the Archipelago of St. Peter and St.
the whitespot moray eel (Muraena Paul’s, however, these whitespot
pavonina) becoming friends with an morays (Muraena pavonina) are the
African species (Muraena melanotis). exception that proves the rule by
aggregating in large groups
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
Greater Soapfish Black Triggerfish
(Ripticus saponaceus) (Melichthys niger)
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Evidence of genetic isolation is easy to detect on the
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SPSPA. The breeding of Queen Angelfish (Holacan-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

thus ciliaris) is noteworthy, since it produces speci-

mens with different colors from those found in other
regions. On the opposite page, a sample of traditio-
nal coloring.

Ciliares amarelo
The Queen Angelfish
(Holacanthus ciliaris) is
one of the most beautiful
fish in the Archipelago
Blue-green The Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus
Queen Angelfish ciliaris), which characteristic
(Holacanthus ciliaris) coloration includes hues of yellow
and green over the body, shows
unique color patterns in the
Archipelago, like this variation of
blue body and white tail fin.
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
Some albinotic and semi-albinotic individuals
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of the Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

could be the result of inbreeding in a popula-

tion that is geographically isolated.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 90

Flying Gunard
(Dactylopterus volitans)
(Canthidermis sp)
Ocean Triggerfish

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 91

Atlantic Trumpetfish
(Aulostomus strigosus) Young Pudding Wife
frequently found in the inlet (Halichoeres radiatus)
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

The species Stegastes sanctipuli, Abudefduf saxatilis
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and the Rock Pool Blenny (Entomacrodus vomeri-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

nus), pictured on the facing page, are abundant mos-

tly in the flooded areas of the St. Peter and St. Paul
The Archipelago represents an important locale for
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the concentration of schools of tuna, especially alba-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

core, a highly migratory fishing resource, and a place

of great ecological relevance.

Moreover, ocean species making large migration can

use the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago for
feeding and resting area, feeding so other migratory
species such as flying fish, or other more restricted
distribution, as puffer fish Diodon hystrix.
Blackbar Soldier fish
(Myripristis jacobus)
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

A school of Cottonmouth Jack
(Uraspis secunda)
The Black Jack fish
(Caranx lugubris) is Dolphinfish
frequently seen around (Coryphaena hippurus)
the Archipelago
| 100|

| 101

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter
Peter SaintSaint
andand Archipelago
Paul Paul
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 102

Great Barracuda
(Sphyraena barracuda)
(Sphyraena barracuda)
Great barracuda

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 103

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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

The Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) presents a very peculiar morpho-

logy. It can grow up to 3 meters in length and weigh up to 500
kilograms. It has no commercial value. Despite being considered
rare/ it is a species that is regularly registered in the St. Peter and
St. Paul Archipelago.
Devil ray
(Mobula tarapacana)
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

The Devil Rays are frequent visitors

of the Archipelago, having been
registered in schools of up to 24
individuals, mainly Chilean Devil
Ray (Mobula tarapacana) and Spiny
Mobula (Mobula thurstoni)
A school of sharks, Carcharhinus
sp., recorded around Saint Peter
and Saint Paul Archipelago

There are many historical records of a high abundan-

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ce of sharks in the vicinity SPSPA in books, journals
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

and reports. More recently, however, there had been
several reports of a strong decrease in shark abun-
dance in the area, with one species, Carcharhinus ga-
lapaguensis even being considered locally extinct9. In
the past 5 years, however, the abundance of sharks
around SPSPA increased significantly, with groups of
several specimens becoming quite common. Such a
strong rise in shark sightings in the area is probably
a result of a ban of shark fishing close to the Archi-
pelago, adopted by SECIRM, in 2012, as well as the
prohibition of retaining on board silky sharks caught
by the tuna longline fishery in the Atlantic Ocean,
adopted by the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

9 LUIZ, O.J.; EDWARDS, A.J. Extinction of a shark population in the

Archipelago of Saint Paul’s Rocks (Equatorial Atlantic) inferred from
the historical record. Biological Conservation. 2011.
The St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago is the
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place in Brazil where there are the highest

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

chances of encountering the largest fish in the

world. The Whale Shark (Rhincondon typus)
is normally observed beside the boats that su-
pport the researchers.
Green Turtle (Chelonia
mydas) in the algae
forest Caulerpa of the
Green Turtle
cove of the ASPSP
(Chelonia mydas)
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago
The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is the
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most frequently studied dolphin in the world. They
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

are the featured marine mammals in the Archipela-
go, as there is a resident population. Scientific results
indicate that these dolphins present a considerable
degree of fidelity to the St. Peter and St. Paul Archi-
pelago. They are the first marine animals that come
to greet researchers, in or out of the water.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 116

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 117

The Hawaiian Orange Fireworm’s
(Eurythoe complanata) presence is
frequently registered in the Archipelago.
It is listed as an endangered species by
the Ministry of The Environment.

The Archipelago has a rich diversity of planktonic

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organisms, algaes, corals, sponges, mollusks, crusta-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

ceans, anemones, and polychaetas. It holds an un-
derwater universe, filled with mysteries and entities
unknown to science, at depths more than four thou-
sand meters.

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

White Encrusting
Zoanthid (Palythoa
Solitary Disk Coral
(Scolymia wellsi)
Brazil Reef Octopus
(Octopus insularis)

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Brazil Reef Octopus
(Octopus insularis)
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 124 Red Rock Crab
(Grapsus grapsus)
(Palinurus echinatus)
Brown Spiny Lobster

Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 125

Venom from sea anemones, such as those from the
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species Bunodosoma cangicum, can become impor-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

tant pharmacological tools, for example the venom

MVIIA, extracted from the marine mollusk Conus
magnus, from which the commercially made Zicono-
tide is derived. It is widely used in the treatment of
patients with chronic and incurable conditions.

Sea Anemone
(Bunodosoma cangicum)
The First Research Station of the Saint Peter and safety equipment. As well as the necessary concern
Saint Paul Archipelago (SPSPA) (Fig.1), built by for the safety of its occupants and the environment,
the slab-beam system in wood, was designed in order to obtain the best possible conditions for life
according to the environmental construction of an and minimum impact with human presence in such a
inhospitable place and liable to earthquakes. The remote and preserved Brazilian corner (Viana et al.,
projectual methodology employed and constructive 2009). The construction system was also the subject
technical adopted were conceptually based on three of innovative studies, allowing the adaptation of the
premises: security, logistics and environment. needs of the logistics available to the landing condi-
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tions on the main island, Belmonte, chosen for the
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

The station was preceded by technological studies on installation of the research station (Alvarez, 2000).
the regime of winds and tides, force and direction of A prefabricated construction system was developed,
the waves, insolation regime, resistance of materials, associating the qualities of the wood with the rigidity
especially with regard to wood, as well as research of the steel, supported in concrete shoes garnished
on clean sources of alternative energy, water produc- with “shock absorbers”, aiming the energy dissipa-
tion, Communications and individual and collective tion of the shafts on the building. The adoption of

Figure 1: First Research Station Figure 2: Second Research Station

the “slab-beam” system presupposed the use of Products, IBAMA. The process began with the de- natural tremors, Although such events could not Under the coordination of the Navy Technology Cen-
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dry wood in greenhouse, obeying a strict control sign of new facilities, incorporating the experience be neglected. In terms of environmental preserva- ter in São Paulo (CTMSP), the third SPSPA Research

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

in the process. Once assembled, periodic mainte- obtained in the eight years of presence in the ar- tion, it should be noted that the studies had the Station (Fig. 3) project will incorporate bold engine-
nance actions of the station aiming, mainly, the chipelago itself and in other similar facilities, where fundamental contribution of the Ministry of the ering solutions and will contemplate the state of the
control of the pressure exerted by the threaded these actors work on similar projects (Viana et al., Environment, either in the form of suggestions art in terms of compatibility with the local ecosystem.
bars, as a function of the response of the pieces of 2009). for the reduction of impacts, or in the provision of Technological advances will allow the introduction of
wood exposed to the marine environment. During elements and ancillary data for decision-making. significant improvements in several areas, especially:
the first maintenance, there was a retraction of the The same techniques of construction were adop- The second research station incorporated new ar-
cover parts not exposed to the action of the sea ted, whose effectiveness has been proven in the- chitectural and engineering solutions, having been > imposing support pillars that will increase the safety
and the stabilization of the southern portion of the se 10 years of life of the First Station, and some built in a more sheltered and safe place in relation conditions, as they will minimize the effects caused
cover, constantly “washed” by the waves (Alvarez enhanced solutions based on the specific needs to the most frequent natural elements, and in a by the strong waves and constant tremors that de-
et al., 2009). of users (Alvarez et al., 2009). The Second Sta- normally flooded region, consequently reducing vastate that distant region;
tion (Fig. 2) has an area of 79 m² distributed in: the human occupation of the natural territory of > a new power generation system, with greater ca-
Although the first research station of the SPSPA bedroom, kitchen/living/dining room, bathroom, the Birds. In addition to providing better condi- pacity, totally based on renewable sources, that will
proved resistant to infrequent incidents caused laboratory, deposit, deck and terrace (Alvarez et tions for conducting research, the second resear- make possible the use of the most different types of
by oceanographic, meteorological and geological al., 2009) and was built in November 2007. Ho- ch station further strengthened the high level of equipment, both for research support and for gene-
phenomena common in that region, it was conclu- wever, the completion and inauguration took pla- security already achieved under the Archipelago ral comfort; and
ded in 2005, due to the need to construct a new ce in June 2008, when the first station completes Program (SECIRM, 2008), increasing the confiden-
research station, with a view to its improvement. 10 (ten) years of activities. The project considered ce and certainty that PROARQUIPELAGO is a Na- > a new seawater desalination system designed speci-
In this sense, the most relevant aspect was the the natural factors that interact with the SPSPA, tional success Program. fically for the site, which will generate enough water
search for a new place of implantation, since the in addition to the new needs imposed by modern to comfortably supply all the needs of the Station.
accumulated knowledge about the place recom- research equipment, which require space, energy
mended the installation in a more sheltered area. and real-time communication with the continent Thus, in addition to making possible the continuity of
Cristina Engel de Alvarez
In addition to SECIRM, the construction of the new (SECIRM, 2008). Danielle Viana the legacy of ensuring the SPSPA continued habita-
research station was once again attended by insti- bility, the third Station will provide greater facilities
tutions with a history of relevant contributions to The priority with seismic protection, which gui- for the Brazilian, civilian and military valiant who take
turns in the arduous but rewarding task of keeping the Figure 3: Model of the third Research Station
the Archipelago Program, such as: Command of ded the choice of the first research station site,
the 3rd Naval District, Naval Base of Natal, Federal was partially replaced by a concern to protect the national flag fluttering on the last frontier of Brazil in
University of Espírito Santo (UFES), Electric Energy new installations against strong waves, which were the Atlantic.
Research Center (CEPEL) and Laboratory of Forest a more important and more frequent threat than Marco Antonio Carvalho de Souza
Two major expeditions to gain knowledge about the 10 WINCHESTER, Simon. Atlantic: great naval battles,
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heroic discoveries, colossal storms and a vast ocean with a
Atlantic were carried -- one embarked on from Virgi-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

million stories. Trad. Donaldson M. Garschagen. São Paulo:

nia, in 1838, conducted by the well-known American Companhia das Letras, 2012, p. 115-116. H.M.S. Challenger
expedition reports illustrated índex. Available on: ,http://
oceanographer of the 19th century, Matthew Fontai- www.19thcenturyscience.org/HMSC/HMSC-INDEX/index-
ne Maury, and the other consisted of just one Royal illustrated.htm. Accessed on: Feb. 10th, 2012. BRASIL,
Marinha. O Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo: 10 Anos
Navy boat, which set sail from Portsmouth, England de Estação Científica. Brasília: SECIRM, 2009, p. 245.
in the winter of 1872, known as the HMS Challenger
11 A naturalist’s Voyage around the world, Charles Darwin.
journey. This last was the most significant for the St. First Edition May 1860- p. 8. Available on: http://www.
Peter and St. Paul Archipelago. At sea for three and gutenberg.org/files/3704/3704-h/3704-h.html ; accessed
on Oct. 03th, 2014.
a half years, the Challenger is forever associated with
the rocks, having been responsible for the register of
reef fish, registering new species and studying the
composition of the rocks.10 Another celebrated ex-
pedition with relation to St. Peter and St. Paul was
the HMS Beagle, which was conducted by the natu-
ralist contracted by the government, Charles Darwin.
One of Darwin’s first impressions on his first contact
with the rocks was surprise by the effect bird feces
covering the rocks produced on entering in contact
with sunlight. He also wrote about the nature of the
rocks and observed the existence of small animals at
the site, “many types of small animals whose origin is
due, without a doubt, the action of rain or distribu-
tion of bird excrement.”11
In this way, the rocks represent an episode, even if
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a modest one, in the history of scientific knowledge

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

about the oceans, figuring in the travel logs that fi-

xed their localization and their measures, providing
descriptions of the nature of the rocks, informing
about the life of the animal and vegetable species
that are found on the site. The rocks were, putting
it one way, transported as samples, designs, classi-
fications, exhibitions and put in museums of other
nations and in displays sponsored by universities,
integrating the heritage of general scientific know-
ledge about the world.
Brazilian researchers did not remain indifferent to 12 Federal University of Ouro Preto, Library of rare works, Escola de
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| 139
Minas. Availble on: ,http://www.obrasraras.em.ufop.br/..Accessed
the rocks. Even though, up until a certain point in

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

on: May, 30th, 2012.

the 20th century the Brazilian scientific presence in
13 MARTINS, Hélio Leoncio. Abrindo estradas no mar: hidrografia
St. Peter and St. Paul had been modest, compared da costa brasileira no século XIX. Rio de Janeiro: Serviço da
to the British, French and North American presence, Documentação da Marinha, 2006, p. 68-71.

it was not negligible. However, it was rarely docu-

mented. Already in the 20th century, in 1931, Odo-
rico Menezes, professor of geology from the School
of Minas, commissioned by the Marine Ministry to
study the nature of the rocks, left to board the Bel-
monte, of the Brazilian Navy, which conducted the
Coast Guard in an instructive and scientific mission.12
In the 19th century, 1860 stands out as a remarka-
ble year as studies began for the installment of the
underwater cable between Brazil and Europe, Brazil
being responsible for investigating the south Atlan-
tic, between the Cape of São Roque and the island of
São Vincent, in the Cape Verde Archipelago. Under
the command of Lieutenant Commander, Torres e Al-
vin, from the end of the year 1862 the small fighter
boats Beberibe navigated around the rocks. The
team approached the largest island and completed
astronomic observations on land at sea. They measu-
red the longitude and latitude, and followed through
with the measuring of the water’s depths at different
Even though they carried out these investigative 14 The “Lusitania”, due to the accident, is unable to
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continue the sensational ride that it has been carrying out.
procedures, up until the 1920s, at least for the public

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Correio da Manhã, Apr. 20th, 1922.

opinion, if we consider the newspaper as the voice of
the people, the presence of the State seemed insu-
fficient to affirm that the rocks were Brazilian. It was
only because of the celebration of 100 years of inde-
pendence, which took place in 1922, that its name
became known to the greater public. Four centuries
after being discovered, they emerged from secular
obscurity through a sinister event: the forced landing
of the hydroplane, Lusitania, between the 19th and
the 20th of April, flown by Portuguese pilots, Gago
Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral, looking for support
from the rocks.14
Ocean Patrol
Ship - Araguari
(Belmonte Island)

The flight was saved by the Portuguese Cruise Ship, 15 The Cruise ship, “República” will arrive today on
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the island Fernando de Noronha, where fearless pilots,
the Republica, already at the rocks waiting to supply

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Sacadura Cabral and Gago Coutinho, waited for the new

fuel to the plane. Coutinho and Cabral, waited for a plane so they could continue on to the route, Lisboa-Rio.
Correio da Manhã, Apr. 21th, 1922.
new plane, which was being transported by the Crui-
se Ship, Carvalho de Araújo.15 The flight of the Lu- 16 Lisboa-Rio: the loss of the “Lusitania” on the rocks...
Correio da Manhã. Rio de Janeiro, June 17th, 1922, p. 3.
sitania, crossing the ocean between Lisboa and Rio
17 PORTUGAL – Brasil, the messengers of Portugal arrive
de Janeiro, celebrated the ties of friendship between in Brasil, O Paiz, Rio de Janeiro, abril 19th, 1922.
the two nations. Coutinho and Cabral were eagerly
awaited in Rio de Janeiro and the news of the acci-
dent was moving for the general population of the
nation. As for the rocks, they were regular features of
newspaper columns, to the point that, in June 1922,
a newspaper in Rio de Janeiro refer to them as “the
now famous” rocks St. Peter and St. Paul.16

On that occasion, they were remembered as the

first advanced Public Health Post of our country, the
“First health center within a part of our nation’s ter-
ritory.” -- in a word, Brazil.17
The accident near the rocks stimulated a debate
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about two issues: first, the responsibility, on an in-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

ternational scale, of the Brazilian State, to provide
for the safety of ships navigating around this location
in the Atlantic. It is a responsibility that required the
installation of some type of directional equipment
for ships and hydroplanes. In addition, the accident
also gave the Brazilian government the opportunity
to focus its attention on these rocks, which led to
a plan for establishing a fueling station on the site
for hydroplanes that were crossing the Atlantic with
increasing frequency. This second idea thrilled spe-
cialists and journalists, but it later proved to be im-
possible to execute.
The rocks are located at the crossroads of former 18 SCHALANSKY, Judith. Atlas of remote islands.
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| 147
London: Penguin Books, 2010, p.34-50.
air and maritime routes, imposing the presence of

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

powerful Royal British Navy ships. Great Britain had

dominion over numerous small islands in the south
Atlantic, such as South Georgia, the South Sandwich
Islands, the Falklands, Ascension, St. Helen, Tristão
da Cunha, some of which are the object of litigation
to this day.18

Passage of the aircraft

P-95B Patrol of the
Orungan Squadron (First
Squadron of the Seventh
Aviation Group (1st / 7th
GAV), Based in Salvador.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it’s quite pos- In the 1930s, the reaction to the national indifference 19 ARRAES, Virgílio Caixeta. A República e o Brazilian Maritime
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Imperialismo: a posse pela Ilha da Trindade (1895-1896). Magazine – 2001
sible that because the rock were not the object of came from aeronautics. In 1935, the magazine Asas,

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

e São Paulo
Paul Archipelago

Brasília: UnB, 1998, p.47-48.

international dispute, owing to the apparent insigni- “the official aviation organization of land and sea”,
20 Asas: Órgão Oficioso da Aviação de Terra e Mar.
ficance of the 17 thousand meters of jagged rocks, released an article published by the British press, year IV, n. 79, May 16th, 1935.
São Pedro

the Brazilian government was blind to the possible which denied Brazil the right to the rocks. The ma-
de Saint

imperialist desires of the British for this rock forma- gazine presented the answer given by the Depart-
Saint Peter and

tion. Even though these desires were directed at the ment of Civil Aeronautics, which relied on two ar-
Trinidad Island, located approximately 1,500 miles to guments: firstly, the place had been mapped by the
the south of St. Peter and St. Paul, occupying it and Portuguese at the beginning of the 16th century,
opening a possible dispute that was resolved in 1895 which determined it as part Lusitania, initially, and
by Brazilian diplomacy, that invoked “the historical later Brazil; secondly, and more decisively, the Brazi-
continuity of the Luso-brazilian ownership.”19 lian government had installed, three years earlier, an
Aero-maritime Lighthouse on the rocks, which could
be seen in a photograph printed in the magazine,
shining beside the national flag.20
In fact, from the first semester of 1927, the gover- 21 OS ROCHEDOS de S. PEDRO e S. PAULO. O Paiz,
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Rio de Janeiro, May, 13th, 1927, p.2.
nment began putting forth initiatives to install a li-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

ghthouse on the rocks. In May of 1927, the cruise 22 1927 BRASIL. Naval Ministry. Minister (Arnaldo
Siqueira Pinto da Luz). 1st report of 1927, presented
ship, Bahia, was sent on a mission to carry out prepa- to the President of the Repubic of the United States of
ratory hydrographic research to build the lighthou- Brazil in May, 1927.

se.21 Meanwhile, the only actions completed were 23 1928. Published in 1928, p.13.
the posting of the flag and a bronze plaque on the

This lighthouse would have its name forever linked

to the Skid Belmonte. The Belmonte was a ship that
held 6 first class and 282 regular passengers, with
an approximately 4,300-ton cargo capacity below
deck, and sailed at the service of the Directory of
Navigation. In September of 1930, on a mission to
fix the lighthouse, the ship carried a load of iron to
the rocks. The task was interrupted by some diffi-
culties, including political events in October of that
year, so that only at the end of 1931, the secondary
lighthouse was inaugurated and only in the first days
of January the following year was the entire project
Male Booby
(Sula leucogaster)

The commissions responsible for the Lighthouse 24 Auxiliary Cruise Ship Belmonte Log. Navy Archive.
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Chpt. III, p. 14.
project were proof of extreme tenacity, the men
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

working under an intense schedule and with slow 25 DANTAS, Ney. A história da sinalização náutica
brasileira e breves memórias. Rio de Janeiro: Sea
result, considering the difficulty to unload the im- Studies Foundation, 2000, p. 590-591.
mense quantity of material and equipment required
to complete the work. Finally, the aero-maritime Li-
ghthouse, given the name, Belmonte, was installed
on the islet. However, nine years later the Lighthouse
would be disassembled by a commission sent on the
auxiliary ship, the Vital de Oliveira, for the Naviga-
tion Directory.24 For nine years, the rocks sent a sig-
nal of light that illuminated the sea for up to 50 miles
before falling back into darkness.25 The abandoned
Lighthouse fell into ruins in the decades that follo-
wed as the occasional visitors attested.
Once again, after having been forgotten, the rocks 26 The Aero-maritime Lighthouse of the rocks of St. Peter
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| 155
and St. Paul. Brazilian Navy. Navy Press, Rio de Janeiro,
were brought back to the spotlight by the moving

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

1930, year I, Oct/Nov 1930, p.479.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

tragedy of the Bahia, a Warship of the Brazilian Navy,

which, on the morning of July 4th, 1945, sank near
the St. Peter and St. Paul: “an explosion destroyed
the stern of the old Cruiser, letting in a huge column
of water, breaking the main mast, snuffing out the
life of some 100 men, seriously wounding 50, and
converted the existence of those who were saved in
the pandemonium.”26
High seas tugboat.
Admiral Guilhem. Hydroraphic
Ship - Sirius
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

After this event, little news arrived on shore, and the 27 SALINAS, Juan; DE NÁPOLI, Carlos. South
Ultramar: the last secret operation of the Third
little news that did arrive was relatively uneventful: Reich, the submarine escape of the Nazi leaders
a sport fishing championship, a lone sailor hit the to Argentina and the sinking of the Cruise ship,
Bahia. Translations, Sérgio Lamarão. Rio de
rocks, a few Brazilian and foreign expeditions were Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2010, p. 306.
carried out, in isolation or collaboratively, the hydro-
graphic vessel, Sirius, which, in May of 1962 comple-
ted the observation of astronomical and geographic
coordinates of the rocks. Leading the Oceanographic
Vessel, Prof. W. Besnard, of the University of São
Paulo, obtained the precise localization and mea-
surements of the archipelago, and installed a wind
station there.27
Meanwhile, the glaring lack of a clearly designated 28 Cf. ,http://bd.camara.gov.br/bd/handle/
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bdcamara/1765> Accessed, Oct. 29th, 2012
status for the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago in

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

official Brazilian documentation, or even in the Mag- 29 AS ILHAS OCEÂNICAS NÃO SÃO TERRA DE
NINGUÉM (The oceanic islands belong to no one), Diário
na Letter, became increasingly evident, generating a da Noite, Rio de Janeiro, , Jan. 15th, 1956.
strong undercurrent of anxiety. In fact, the constitu- 30 ILHAS OCEÂNICAS, M. Paulo Filho. Correio da Manhã,
tions of 1937 and 1946 give a mere generic mention Rio de Janeiro, Jan. 15th, 1956.
to “oceanic islands”, of which could include Fernando 31 http://bd.camara.gov.br/bd/handle/bdcamara/3884>
de Noronha, Rocas and St. Peter and St. Paul, as part Accessed, October 29th, 2012.

of the Brazilian territory.28 In virtue of this omission,

in an article published in 1953, entitled “The oceanic
islands belong to no one”, the Diário da Noite, of Rio
de Janeiro, presented the suggestion by the National
Geographic Counsel, which was to make explicit in
the letter of the law, the status of the two places,
Rocas, and St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago, as part
of the territory of Fernando de Noronha, proposing
the following revision of the beginning of Article 1 of
the Federal decree-legislation l 6. 159, May 23, 1944:
“O Território de Fernando de Noronha”, created by
Decree-Law 4.102, February 9th, 1942, constituted
for the respective archipelago, and for the Rocks of
St. Peter and St. Paul.”29 Meanwhile, 15 years later,
Aureliano Leite, together with some deputies, reite-
rated that the rocks were not mentioned in the sec-
tion of the Constitution that delineates the composi-
tion of national territory.30 They would only reappear
in the Constitution of 1967.31
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 160
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

The St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago was discove-

red by accident in 1511. The accident occurred when
one of the vessel of six ships led by Dom Garcia de
Noronha, who navigated from Brazil to São Tomé, on
the coast of Africa, lost its way during the night and
crashed into the rocks. This ship was commanded by
Manuel de Castro Alcoforado and was called São Pe-
dro, the namesake of the rocks.
Two years later, in 1513, the Spanish navigator, Juan
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da Nova de Castello registered the existence of the

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

rocks for the first time. Six years later, the Rocks
appear in the registers of Jorge Reinel, in 1519, whe-
re the name was abbreviated and confused with São
Paulo. the names St. Peter and St. Paul were used by
cartographers and navigators, and eventually called
the Rocks of St. Peter and St. Paul.
When the sea “rises” and the waves
become intense, the best thing to
do is to take shelter in the Scientific
Research Station. When the sea is
under these conditions, it is impossible
to walk on the footbridge. Not even
the locals - the birds - risk it.

There is, still, another version about the origin of the

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names: that the ship, São Pedro, was rescued by ano-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

ther ship from the fleet called São Paulo and the joi-
ning of these names were given to the archipelago.

The denomination St. Paul’s or St. Paul Rocks also

appear in some texts, however, they are historically
incorrect. In 1529, the rocks figured in the maps de-
veloped by Diego Ribeiro and their Brazilian owner-
ship was never contested.
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

It was only in the 18th century, in the year 1738, that

man would first disembark from a sea vessel and walk
on the rocks, encountering a natural environment
that had yet to be visited by the human species. This
task was endowed to the French sailor Beuvet du Lo-
sier. The second register of descending on the rocks,
was by the Captain Amasa Delano, who sailed from
Boston to the Eastern Islands on the S.Y. Perserve-
rance. The first nautical letter on the archipelago was
written in 1813, by Tenant Captain George Crichton,
aboard the H.M.S. Rhin.

Unloading the research

equipment with the help of
members of the Brazilian Navy
The most productive expedition on the SPSPA was
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carried out aboard the H.M. S. Challenger, under
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

the command of Captain Sir Charles W. Thompson
and the pioneer of oceanographic trips around the
world. The ship remained two days on the rocks in
August of 1873. The scientists collected a diversity of
samples of the fauna of the Archipelago and draining
was done up to 150 meters to the north of the small
island, Cabral.
The 1989 expedition
of Amateur Radio
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

The first expedition of the past century took place in
1902 with a visit by the S.Y.Scotia with the objective
of studying sharks, in which a prevailing species was
identified - the Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis).

In 1979, during the Cambridge expedition, the first

independent dive took place - up to 60 meters in
depth - in which land and sea specimens were collec-
ted to compensate for the lack of information publi-
shed about the marine biology of the Archipelago.
Oceanographic Ship
- Antares (H40)
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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Beginning in 1995, the Program for the Evaluation of
Potential Sustainability in Capturing Live Resources
in the Exclusive Economic Zone (in Portuguese ab-
breviated as Programa REVIZEE), initiated a series of
fishing and biological prospections along the Exclu-
sive Economic Zone (EEZ), using the NOc. Antares
(Hydrographic and Navigational Directory - DHN, of
the Brazilian Navy), which carried out bathymetric
research and oceanographic and plankton data col-

An expedition, led by the Federal University of Per-

nambuco - UFRPE and the Ocean Institute of Per-
nambuco, with support from the Brazilian Navy, lo-
cated remains from a ship, approximately 50 meters
from the Archipelago, which had shipwrecked most
likely sometime between the 17th and the 19th cen-
The waves of interest in the St. Peter and St. Paul Ar-
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| 177
chipelago sailed on the tides of initiatives destined to

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

broadening Brazilian control of its territorial sea. By

the mid 19th century, the government had defined a
three-mile belt of “territorial sea” (State controlled
area), however, beginning in 1930, these dimensions
began increasing. By 1966, Brazilian controlled a belt
of territorial sea that included a six-mile range from
the shore, and three years later it was extended to
12 nautical miles (approximately 22km). Then, on
March 25th, 1970, a great leap was taken when a de-
cree passed extending the Brazilian territorial sea to
200 miles offshore. It was a nationalist decision with
precedents set by other Latin American Nations. No-
netheless, in 1982, at the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), signed by Brazil
in 1982, and ratified in 1985, Brazilian territorial sea
was officially set at 12 nautical miles.
Brazilian Navy Ship, BN -
Commander Manhães (H2O)
under maintenance.

Despite the UNCLOS decision to recognize Brazilian 32 CASTRO, Luiz Augusto de Araújo. O Brasil e o
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novo direito do mar: mar territorial e zona econômica
sovereignty up to 12 nautical miles offshore, the con-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

exclusiva. Brasilia. Fundação Alexandre Gusmão, 1989,
cept of “Exclusive Economic Zone”, assured the coas- p. 40-41; United Nations Convention on the Law of
the Sea (with annexes, final act and procès-verbaux of
tal nations certain rights up to 200 miles beyond the rectification of the final act dated 3 March, 1986, and
12-mile territorial sea. In short, the UNCLOS decision 26 July 1993). Concluded at Montego Bay on December
10, 1982. Part II, Section I, “Mer territoriale e zone
gave the coastal States, “the right to maintain the contigue’. http:///www.un.org/depts/los/convention_
traditional 12-mile territorial sea control and establi- agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_fpdf. Accessed on Oct.
1st, 2014, 8:56.
shed, between this limit and the other 200 miles, a
zone in which sovereignty rights could be exercised,
as well as exclusive jurisdiction concerning living and
non-living sea resources, without compromising free
innocent passage rights to other States that they
would continue to enjoy within this area.”32
Efforts that provoked a change in the Brazilian 33 VIANA, Danielle de Lima, et al. Arquipélago de São
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| 181
Pedro e São Paulo. Available on: <http://www.mar.mi.br/
government’s position in relation to St. Peter and St.

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

caaml/revista/2007/Portugês/15-Pag68.pdf>. Accessed on:
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Paul derived, largely from the requirements imposed Sept. 29th, 2009.

by international juridic order regarding oceans. The

rights to the sea, and specifically the “island regimes”
regulated by the UNCLOS, established that “the ro-
cks that they themselves do not provide human habi-
tation or an economic life should not have Exclusive
Economic Zoning nor Continental Platform”. What
went into effect was the need for the rocks to be
permanently inhabited, so that they could be preser-
ved as part of the national territory. Based on this
requirement, occupying St. Peter and St. Paul per-
manently, Brazil guaranteed its oceanic range over
a surrounding area of 450,000 square kilometers.33
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

This international interest in the nautical seas are of international exchanges of maritime routes, which 34 VIGARIÉ, André. La mer et la géostratégie de
nations. Paris: Institut de Stratégie Comparée;
related to the importance of the oceans in world in the 1990s reached three quarters of the universal Economica, 1995, p. 20-21.
economies after WWII, which can be translated in commerce and almost seventy percent of its value,
the notion of “maritimization of the contemporary and petroleum extraction and fishing -- having more
economy”, a notion that translates a series of trans- than tripled its tonnage in the past decades.34
formations in the world economy, such as the growth
Thus, in 1980, the presidency of Republic released 35 http://www.mar.mil.br/secrim;documnt;doc_secirm/
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| 185
the directives for a National Policy on Sea Resources,

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

under the responsibility of the Inter-ministerial Com-

36 https://www.mar.mil.r/secirm/document/atas_e_res/
mission for Sea Resources (ICSR), which had been resolucao-001-96-cirm.pdf. Accessed on October 2, 2014.
created by decree in September of 1974, with sup-
port from the Secretary of the Inter-ministerial Com-
mission of Sea Resources (SICSR).35 The incorpora-
tion of St. Peter and St. Paul was officialized in 1996,
with the formulation of the Program Archipelago of
St. Peter and St. Paul (PROARQUIPÉLAGO) and the
consequent creation of the Permanent Work Group
for the Occupation and Research on the St. Peter and
St. Paul Archipelago. The main goal of PROARQUI-
PÉLAGO was “the implementation of a permanent
Scientific Research Station in that area, to systema-
tically develop, from then on, scientific research in
that locale, occupying it definitively”.36

(Tursiops truncatus)
On June 25th of 1998, the first scientific research 37 BONO, 29/06/1998. Revista marítima
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Brasileira, v. 118, n. 7/9 Jul/Sept. 1998, p. 303.
station, projected to have approximately 50 square

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

meters to house four researchers at any given time,

was inaugurated. The ceremony was attended by the
Commander of the 3rd Naval District of the Hydro-
graphic and Navigational Directory, the Directory
of Civil Works of the Marines, of the Commander of
the Aeronaval Force, IBAMA and the construction
company involved in the project. The Minister of the
Navy, during the ceremony, affirmed that “For the
first time National Flag has waved on those islands,
with great scientific interests, as well as, political and
economic, having the purpose of developing scienti-
fic research with the permanent occupation on the
The fact is that since the discovery of the rocks, a 38 https://www.mar.mil.br/secirm/document/atas_e_res/
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| 189
resolucao-001-96-cirm.pdf. Accessed on October, 2014.
course of operation to appropriate the St. Peter and

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

St. Paul was in play, by the State and the scientific 39 Commentary of Bougainville L.-A. of (1771) made
by ARRAULT, Jean-Baptiste. Du toponyme au concept?
research played a strategic role in this operation. We Usages et significations du terme archipel en géographie
approach this operation initially under the angle of et dans le sciences sociales. L’espace géographique,
2005/4, takes 34, p. 12, http://www.cairn.info/revue-
the “politics of names” which was adopted. Up to espace-geographique-2005-4-page-315.htm. Accessed on
the 19th century the rocks were known generically October, 2014.

as “the rocks”, or “the boulders”, but in 1996 a reso-

lution by ICSR changed the toponymy of the “rocks”
from St. Peter and St. Paul to “St. Peter and St. Paul
Archipelago”.38 The empirical designation “rocks”
(“rock” is an object apprehended through experien-
ce with the naked eye), adopting a designation that
indicates systemic apprehension, abstract, in one
word, “scientific”. In fact, this “archipelago” takes
form “in the moment the awareness of a set, an enti-
ty, a totality”.39 The new way to call St. Peter and St.
Paul revealed the principles that govern a way to see
the very world of science, coherently with the field of
science in which it would be generated from then on.
Another change, also in the order of symbolic ope- The names proposed celebrated the presence of the 40 O´BRIEN, Susan Roberta Mello and AMARAL, Fernanda
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Maria Duarte do. Histórico. Arquipélago de São Pedro e
rations, even more revealing of the investment that British expeditions that had visited the rocks. Among

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

São Paulo: histórico e recursos naturais. Org. Teodoro Vaske
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

the Brazilian institutions were making about St. Peter these names were: Erebus Islet Rock Challenger, Junior et al. Fortaleza: NAVE;LABOMAR UFC, 2010. p. 20.

and St. Paul to assign ownership of the rocks to the Cambridge Rock and Beagle Rock. The names pre-
nation, constituted in the modification of the names served were Belmonte Rock and Coutinho Rock and
that came to designate each one of the parts that they added Cabral Islet. Thus, the rocks became the
formed the set of the rocks. dominion of the British, if not geopolitical, at least
linguistic, even though with the other names that
These names, together, came in 1979, when the
they were attributed, to the rocks, Cabral Rock and
Cambridge expedition, which had been carried out
Coutinho Rock, recognized that the rocks had a trace
for ten days on the rocks, named each one of the
in the Luso-brazilian History of the 20th century.
units of St. Peter and St. Paul, applying to them name
employed by another English expedition that three
years before had taken place at the site, the H.M.S,
Endurance, under the arguments that “the Brazilian
authorities had not denominated the islets of St. Pe-
ter and St. Paul” and that this absence of denomina-
tion “caused confusion between the names used by
the various scientist who visited the location”.40
The changes in nomenclature adopted by the Brazi-
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lian government consisted essentially in the suppres-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

sion of British names: the designation “Beagle Rock”
disappeared, Erebus Rock became Sacadura Cabral,
the Challenger Islet was changed to St. Peter and St.
Paul Islet. New names were introduced, which recog-
nized the Brazilian presence on the Rocks, such as
Barão de Teffé Islet (allusion to the Admiral Antonio
Luiz von Hoonholtz, who consecrated his career to
the hydrography and astronomy, linking his name to
the Hydrographic Repartition of 1876) and the Sirius
Islet (Sirius was the name of the Brazilian Hydrogra-
phic ship that was on the rocks in 1962). This new
toponymy added to the symbols of the national flag
kept permanently waving on the highest point of the
rocks, on the newly erected lighthouse in 1995, the
frequent presence of the Brazilian Navy at the loca-
tion, the ships, their captains and fishermen and the
Brazilian researchers that came to stay at the Scienti-
fic Research Station.
Brazilian Navy Ship.
The small warship,
of the class Inhaumá,
in proximity to the

Although they figure as a group of small rocks far

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from the mainland population, their importance

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

goes way beyond their approximately 17.500 squa-

re meters. In fact, the interest of the State and the
economy on the rocks is not so much, or only on
the rocks themselves, but the territory around it, the
territory affirmed by the action of the Brazilian go-
vernment and approved juridically by the internatio-
nal conventions, a gigantic reserve of resources that
endow the Brazilian State to generate, conserve and
exploit in a responsible way.

Over the past five centuries, the ancient rocks were

converted into a part of the history of the changing
borders in Brazilian territory in oceanic waters. At the
center of human life on the rock stands the Scientific
Research Station of the St. Peter and St. Paul Archi-
pelago the laboratory and home of Brazilian resear-
chers. Inside and around it is woven an important
part of the story of scientific research in the country.
It requires a considerable effort, by many, to permanently maintain a Research Station in the Saint Peter
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and Saint Paul Archipelago. The PROARQUIPELAGO is, therefore, very grateful to all the actors and

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

partners involved in this complex but extremely rewarding task. Since they are too numerous, it would
be impractical to mention all of them individually. However, at a time when a sublime selection of images
that are part of this work is published, I think it is appropriate to mention, at least, the beautiful work
done by a category that does represent the PROARQUIPELAGO more than any other: the researcher.

We have witnessed, in the daily life of this remarkable Program, the knowledge arising from the work
of renowned teachers who share their experiences with undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degree
students. Through their hard work and dedication, we have been able to explore the incredible opportu-
nities arising from the inexhaustible scientific potential associated with that remote and important part
of Brazilian territory.

Thank you teachers and students!

Thank you the Brazilian Navy, CNPq, IBAMA, CEPEL, UFRPE, UFRN, UFES and many other partners.
Together, we make the PROARQUIPELAGO!

Thank you all!

Marco Antonio Carvalho de Souza

Captain Corvette - Brazilian Navy
PROARQUIPELAGO Program Coordinator
This book presented, in an illustrated manner, the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago (SPSPA), which,
due to its location, between the northern and southern hemisphere, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, may be
considered as a natural laboratory anchored in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Its strategic geographic
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position confers it a great ecological and economical significance, being an important part of the migra-
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

tory route of several commercially important fish species, like tunas and tuna-like fish, as well as other
marine species, such as seabirds, turtles and mamals. In the light of the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it also has a very relevant political importance due to the 200-mile Eco-
nomic Exclusive Zone it may have around it, provided the conditions established in UNCLOS are fulfilled.

Due to its strategic importance, the Brazilian Navy created, in 1998, the PROARQUIPELAGO Program,
establishing the Permanent Working Group for the Occupation and Research in the Saint Peter and Saint
Paul Archipelago. Based on this management structure, the Program was then started with the installa-
tion by the Brazilian Navy of the Research Station, coordinated by the Interministerial Commission for
the Resources of the Sea (CIRM), having the National Council for Scientific and Technological Develop-
ment (CNPq), as a partner for the promotion of research.

Since the implementation of the Research Station, approximately 500 expeditions have been carried
out, allowing the qualification of a large number of professionals, from various education and research
institutions from all over Brazil, from the undergraduate level, to postgraduate, including Masters, Doc-
tors and Post-doctors, who have developed their scientific activities in the area. The ASPSP Research
Station has contributed thus to form an entire new generation of researchers on marine science in the

The maintenance of the PROARQUIPELAGO Program is, therefore, of fundamental importance to keep
the Research Station fully operational, allowing the development, in a continuous and systematic way, of
scientific research on Marine Sciences in such a strategic, as well as remote, part of the Brazilian territory.

Jorge Eduardo Lins Oliveira

Technical Operational Coordinator of PROARQUIPELAGO Program
Professor of the Department of Oceanography and Limnology - UFRN
ALVAREZ, C. E. de et al. A primeira e a segunda Estação Científica. In: O Arquipélago de São Pedro e São ESTEVES, E. L. MORAES, F. C.; MURICY, G.; AMARAL, F. D. Duas novas ocorrências da ordem Haromerida (Porífera,
Paulo: 10 Anos de Estação Científica. Brasília – DF 348p. 2009. Dermospongiae) para o Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo, Brasil. Bol. Mus. Nac. Zool., n. 488, p.1-12, 2002.

Alvarez, C. E. de; Melo, J. E. de. A Estação Científica do Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo. Vitória: Hazin, FÁbio Hissa. Programa Revizee - Score Nordeste: Peixes Marinhos da Região Nordeste do Brasil. Editora
Ed. UFES, 2000. Martins & Cordeiro,Fortaleza, 2009.
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AZEVEDO, A.V.M. Interação de pequenos grupos em situação de isolamento: uma aplicação da técnica do JÚnior, Teodoro Vaske; Lessa, Rosangela Paula; Nóbrega, Marcelo Francisco; Amaral, Fer-

Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

incidente crítico em áreas naturais protegidas, 2002. 94f. Dissertação (Mestrado). Universidade Federal nanda Maria Duarte do; Silveira, Susan Roberta Mello. O Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo:
do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal 2002. histórico e recursos naturais. Fortaleza: NAVE/LABOMAR UFC, 2010.

BOTH, R. Análise da sazonalidade da avifauna marinha do Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo, 2001. LINDSAY, D. St. Paul’s Rocks: shark heaven, diver-heaven. Diver, 1980.
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Photo Credits
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic

Acervo Karl Mesquita Pags. 140, 157, 173
Acervo ProarquipElago Pags. 6, 10, 75, 95, 99, 119, 123, 132, 135, 136, 138, 145, 155, 175, 179, 180, 190, 193, 194, 199
Alexandre Nunes Contracapa
Alfredo Borie Mojica Pag. 113
Arquivo da Diretoria de Hidrografia e Navegação Pags. 170, 171
Bruno Macena Pags. 66, 111
Carlos Eduardo Leite Ferreira Pag. 120
Carlo M. Cunha Pag. 156
Daniel Viana Pags. 22, 102, 107
Danielle Viana Pags. 4, 18, 21, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 39, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52, 60, 110, 125, 142, 153, 159, 160, 169, 185, 189, 202
Drausio Véras Pags. 93, 176
Fabricio Gandini Pag. 104
Françoise Lima Pags. 20, 26, 44, 76, 77, 78, 82, 84, 150
Frederico Guaraldo de Andrade Pags. 40, 186
Jorge Lins Pags. 63, 64, 86, 92, 100, 103, 112
Lilian Sander Hoffmann Pags. 17, 27, 115, 116, 163
Lucas Santos Pag. 129
Luís Carlos Pinto de Macedo Soares Pag. 51
Luiz Sérgio Amarante Simões Pags. 146, 167
Marcus Leoni/Folhapress Pag. 108
Matias do Nascimento Ritter Pags. 8, 14, 196
Natalia Alves Bezerra Pags. 96, 141
Ormar Luiz Pags. 69, 70, 71, 74, 80, 81, 83, 88, 89, 98
Patrícia Luciano Mancini Pags. 24, 28, 36, 55
Paulo H. Ott Pag. 164
Ronaldo Bastos Francini Filho Pags. 78, 79, 121, 126, 182
Sibele Mendonça Pags. 101, 105, 106
Tatiana Leite Pags. 50, 67, 73, 87, 90, 91, 104, 122, 124, 128
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic
This book was diagrammed in HelvNueUltLight font, body 10.5.
Printing on matte coated paper 150g and hardcover
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Brazil in the mid Atlantic | 207

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago | 208

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