Fishing the future. A snapshot of the Chilean TURFs through the lens of fishers and key stakeholders‟ perceptions
Overfishing is not an exclusive topic of big fishing industry. Overfishing by small-scale fishers is also happening. The Territorial Use of Rights – TURFs was implemented in Chile to protect the Chilean abalone from overfishing. Through the implementation of the TURFs Chilean abalone are no longer threatened by overfishing. The challenge to protect the resource thus seems to be solved. However, while some problems are solved others persist or new ones arise.
The thesis explores the discourses of the Chilean social actors in regard to the development and challenges of the TURFs. The empirical data is formed by a group of interviews, where social issues such as TURFs accomplishments, resource availability, diversification, tenure issues, access to the coast, lack of infrastructure, competition for the space and future expectations, are milestones arising from the empirical material. These issues are analysed through the lens of fishers and stakeholder‟s perception.
The paper confirms what other studies such as Cereceda and Czischke 2001, Gallardo 2008, Gallardo and Friman 2012, González et al. 2006, and Meltzoff et al. 2002 have found. Fishers organised nationally through confederations, regional federations and local associations have become active social actors in the artisanal fisheries arena. Similarly, it is also corroborated that through good leadership some fishing organisations are diversifying related and no-related fishing activities to secure better living conditions, thus, constantly evolving, encapsulating more and more benthic fishers‟ social and economic needs. The study concludes that the fishers, even though the difficulties and challenges encountered (heterogeneity of the richness of the seabed and different land issues) during the co-management of some TURFs and due to the fact that they are working in the same designated and exclusive place, they have developed a collective sense of permanent attachment and sense of „property‟ or tenure to the water body where the TURFs are located. Due to their development, the TURFs seem to be more than temporary, raising the question of the land tenure and associated infrastructure development where fishers place their activities, especially in rural areas where settlements do not exist.
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