We discuss the issues of sustainable use and management in the Chilean inshore benthic small-scale (artisanal) fisheries. The fishery benefits from two features that make it possible to overcome some of the problems of conventional management. These are: (1) major advances have been made in understanding relevant ecological processes, and (2) this knowledge has been institutionalized in the 1991 Chilean Fishing and Aquaculture Law (FAL). FAL legalizes the use of community-owned shellfish grounds, so-called ““Management and Exploitation Areas”” (MEA); this practice is considered to confer quasi-property rights to fishers' unions. Management plans for these areas have to be approved by the government. This co-management approach solves one of the major problem in many fisheries: overexploitation. In addition, the study of the MEAs could provide useful information, if they are considered as ““replicates,”” in evaluating the effect of human perturbation and different management regimes. We think that by using the different tools provided by the FAL on the spatial arrangement of the small-scale fishery and answering certain key ecological questions, the sustainable use of inshore benthic resources in Chile (e.g., gastropods, sea urchins, and algae) via an ecosystem approach can be achieved in the near future.
Ecological Applications – Ecological Society of America
Published: Feb 1, 1998
Keywords: Chile ; co-management ; community ownership ; ecosystem approach ; small-scale fishery ; sustainable use ; invertebrates
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