Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries

Entry Overview

Artisanal fishers and local councils governing the coast
Entrant Image: 
Federacion de Pescadores de Navidad (FEPANAV) & Ilustre Municipalidad de Navidad
Carlos ibañes del campo s/n Matanzas
3230000 Navidad
Describe the problem: 

The Federacion de Pescadores de Navidad and the Local Council of Navidad jointly established a bottom-up marine sanctuary which is embedded between territorial user rights areas (TURFs) under the management of artisanal fishers. The novelty of the sanctuary relates to fisher engagement in linking TURFs with protected areas to achieve sustainability. The initiative provides a new alternative for marine conservation approaches in Chile. The initiative built upon local council officials, fishers and academics, that operate at different scales, with the common objective of achieving good governance of the ecosystem. International recognition of this initiative could provide important leverage to kick-start marine conservation bottom-up processes, such as this one, along the whole country.

Biodiversity Impact: 
The rational for establishing territorial user rights is based on common‐property theory, which assumes that securing access and sharing control over resources can create incentives for sustainable institutional arrangements among fishers, who will then manage and harvest collectively and sustainably. This is happening. In addition, it has contributed to more effective enforcement and increased the likelihood of compliance. Globally the theme of assessing and optimizing the possible synergies of no‐take marine protected areas and territorial user right combinations has been identified at the forefront of research and policy discussions aimed at achieving sustainable fishery practices and scaling‐up biodiversity conservation. Navidad is an example where, in a bottom‐up manner, self‐organization emerged and informal institutional arrangements were created in order to try to achieve these goals.
Human Well Being and Livelihood Impact: 
The solution is being implemented by the local municipality and local fishing unions. The solution is thus part of a bottom‐up strategy which attempts to increase wellbeing of the local fisher unions. The solution is being implemented in one of the 10 poorest coastal and rural councils in Chile. The solution will directly affect approximately 120 artisanal fishers and their families, but will indirectly affect thousands of tourists who use the central coast as a summer recreation location. Important aspects of the solution include the granting of user rights which are creating incentives for sustainable resource use. In addition, the process of solution establishment has brought in networks of contacts that help members of the fisheries union to access non‐local institutions and resources. In addition, the surveillance of fishers’ productive territorial user rights areas will be benefited as the whole systems surveillance will be improved. Ideally the marine sanctuary could provide important spillover effects or act as seeding grounds for economically important species; however the extent of these benefits must still be tested. // It is difficult to describe governance issues in depth in one paragraph. It is important to stress that the solution in Navidad is about devolving management authority as such a commission for the administration of the area is being created. Another important point to highlight is that it has provided important venues in which cross scale interactions between actors have generated social capital, traditional management practices have served as a basis for establishing management plans and time frames have followed local stakeholders needs. This is strikingly different from many donor and governmental top-down interventions which have a 3-5 year implementation plan in which objectives must be met and “buy in” is usually only linked to the period where “donor money” is available. Most of the activities taken place in Navidad have been funded by fishers themselves through small grants, it has taken 5 years, the sanctuary is still not approved, but de facto regulations already exist. Future challenges in terms of governance relate to the full recognition of bottom-up conservation practices by the state. Currently a national protected area and biodiversity law is being discussed in parliament, however bottom-up, municipal marine conservation is not included. Models such as the one developed in Navidad are generating the necessary learning platforms to prove bottom-up marine conservation can provide a good complementary alternative to top-down conservation in the sea. International recognition could help bridge this gap further.
How many years has your solution been applied 5 years // Have others reproduced your solution elsewhere? Yes // The territorial user rights component of the solution is managed by the different fisher unions, these unions must establish yearly management plans which are approved by the undersecretary of fisheries. The marine sanctuary component is jointly managed by the local municipality and the artisanal fisher federation (sub‐set of elected members of the unions). The sanctuary is still not officially approved but is a no‐take area.
Experience in Navidad shows how marine conservation which arises out of municipal and civil society structures linked to natural spaces, fosters a sense of ownership and participation in those involved, which is including traditionally marginalized actors such as traditional intertidal algae gatherers. In Navidad the marine conservation area (officially applied for as a Nature Sanctuary) is still under consideration by state agencies, however it is already protected in a de facto way by the municipality and fisher union. As Patricio Martinez, the fisheries officer of the municipality mentions in an interview: ƒ??A buyer came for the kelp (Macrosystis spp) he was paying a good price but fishers themselves said it was off limits and did not extractƒ??. This would have been unthinkable 10ƒ?15 years agoƒ?. Due to all the work developed by fishers and the municipality, the area has also been prioritized as a conservation hotspot in the national microƒ?zoning spatial planning initiative. In addition out of a survey of 300 tourists, taken place in the surrounding beaches of Navidad, 96% established the importance of having a marine municipal conservation area and 78% showed to be willing to pay an annual fee to support the initiative (this has not been implemented or discussed yet). Most importantly, the survey highlights touristsƒ?? perception on the need to implement small marine protected areas in places where people can access the area and information and not only in distant high biodiversity hotspots. This initiative targets all these social demands. // The coordinates of the site selected for conservation are associated to a Macrosystis kelp forest of approximately 15 hectares. However if we consider the two territorial user right areas associated to the sanctuary the whole integrated system is approximately 120 hectares. This might seem a small system however; in central Chile (where this initiative takes place) multiple uses of the coast have historically made it very hard to have marine protected areas. In fact, of the 0.03% of the Marine Exclusive Economic Zone which is protected as a Marine Protected Areas in coastal zones of Chile, 86% is located in southern Chile, home to only 5% of the human population. Thus, conserving in central Chile, where there is competition from multiple uses is the great challenge. Here topƒ?down approaches have not been successful and innovation, as the one in Navidad, is at the forefront of generating change.

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