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Analysis of marine resource conflicts in two North Central Chilean fishing villages

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  • Biology
  • Design
  • Education


In 1992, amendments to the Fishing and Aquaculture Law required rural communities to organize into syndicates or cooperatives and to create resource management plans. Once the Chilean Fisheries Service (SERNAP) approves these plans, villages could manage designated subtidal and intertidal areas. In response to these amendments, two villages, Puerto Aldea and El Totoral, sought the advice of Northern Catholic University's (UCN) biologists. Despite the UCN's educational campaigns aimed at limiting the catch, traditional fishermen's attitudes in these villages have not changed. The artisanal fishermen find ways of skirting the regulation. From June 1997 to December 1997, I worked with UCN's extension crew to assess the multilayered cultural conflict occurring between stakeholders of differing interests. We used participant observation, individual interviews, and rapid rural appraisal activities to identify the conflicts affecting the communities of Puerto Aldea and El Totoral. This approach revealed interpersonal conflicts among the fishermen, between the fishing communities, and among agencies and fishing communities. A conflict of values occurs: one of technical knowledge versus local, indigenous knowledge. A resolution of these conflicts might occur when all parties involved collaborate: learn to listen, to observe, and to conscientiously respond to one another.

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