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From Seascapes of Extinction to Seascapes of Confidence: Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries in Chile: El Quisco and Puerto Oscuro
Uppsala universitet.
2008 (English)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In Chile, the indiscriminate harvest for export of the edible shellfish, Concholepas concholepas or false abalone, propelled by a neo-liberal market economy during the 1970s, almost led to the extinction of the species, thereby threatening the dependant small-scale artisan fishers’ survival as well as the ecosystem. To reverse this, fishers’ organizations in Chile have adopted the state created regulatory measure, Management and Exploitation Areas for Benthic Resources (MEABR; locally known as Management Areas -- MAs). Replacing the former unsuccessful fishing regulatory measurements, the MEABR regime empowers the fishers with exclusive territorial use rights (TURF) to manage the species, often under commons institutions, thus creating new seascapes of confidence. However, as is often the case with new solutions, emergent problems are posed that threaten to undermine the reform. With the new regulated extraction measure and geographical expansion of this novel labour and production alternative, fishers experience a transition from ‘nomadic’ to sedentary fishing leading to a transformation of their lifestyle and skills. If MAs become permanent, fishing in rural areas may lead to tensions as the fishers settle on coastal lands without entitlement, or are hindered from developing their own fisheries infrastructure. The legal system does not seem to fully foresee the consequences of the reform, and prevailing power relations and private property rights work to disadvantage the fishers. Using a participatory approach for the first research location of El Quisco (Valparaíso Region), and interviews with key informants for the second research location of Puerto Oscuro (Coquimbo Region), fishers’ views of the Chilean TURF were evaluated. How fishers perceive this experience should be central for the success or failure of the MAs as a viable alternative to the earlier conditions of open access. While the assessment of El Quisco deals more with the performance of the MA, Puerto Oscuro is used to portray the seascapes of conflict that have emerged as ownership of the coastal land is contested. The study shows that while the reform has brought better incomes from the benthic resources, the overall economic importance of the MAs for the fishers is reduced relative to the incomes coming from fishing activities realized outside the MAs. Experiences in both cases have been otherwise positive in terms of the recuperation of the species, ecological concerns and strengthening fishers’ so-called soft assets. Nevertheless, many problems remain, among them the problem of access to the sea border and those related to ambiguous land rights to support coastal settlement and fishing infrastructure development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: CoAction Publishing, 2008. , 197 p.
Keyword [en]
territorial use rights in fisheries, MEARB, management areas, artisan fishing, Concholepas concholepas, Locos, the commons, participatory rural appraisal, Chile
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Fish and Aquacultural Science Landscape Architecture
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33288DOI: 10.4324/9781315159829ISBN: 978-91-977071-2-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-977071-3-8 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-33288DiVA: diva2:1138142
Available from: 2017-09-04 Created: 2017-09-04 Last updated: 2017-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Gallardo Fernández, Gloria L.
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Citation style
  • apa
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