This article presents a case study on social-environmental conflicts in a maritime community on a tourist island in Brazil. The place used to be a common-pool resource for local Caa-Icaras fishers populations. The establishment of two Environmental Protection Areas on the island restricted land use and imposed population resettlements. This causes communities’ economic disruption and led to disputes for social-environmental justice on spatial regulation. The research procedures were local observation, document review, and bibliographic analysis. Results show that the enforced spatial planning, separating humans from nature, violates both human rights and constitutional protection of Brazilian indigenous communities. The case shows that enforced environmental protection model is paradoxical with sustainable development objectives, because this degraded life quality of vulnerable populations. Following a long term judicial dispute, lawmakers settled new legal framework. Meanwhile, the community had become just a ghost of what it once was.