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Beyond Private and Public Property: Emerging Commons Within Artisanal Fisheries. The Chilean Territorial Use Rights for Fisheries (TURFS)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Fernández, Gloria L. Gallardo; Stotz, Wolfgang; Aburto, Jaime; Mondaca, Carolin; Vera, Karoll
Conference: Capturing the Complexity of the Commons, North American Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Conf. Date: Sep. 30-Oct. 2
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6548
Sector: Fisheries
Region: South America
Subject(s): artisanal fishing
Abstract: "Territorial Use Rights for Fisheries (TURFs) have, since the late 1990s, been spreading along the Chilean coast. The institution of the commons has been implemented de novo to sustain local common pool resources. While studies suggest that TURFs’ coastal resources are doing well ecologically, the economic/organizational aspects seem to lag behind. TURFs are nested in diverse caletas (rural/urban) and social embedment (private/state lands), such settings influencing the TURFs’ long-term viability. The theory on the commons claims that certain collective action conditions have to be met to become a thriving common institution. How are these conditions influenced when the new commons do not emerge in tabula rasa contexts, but in shared and contested spaces? How do TURFs in rural areas differ to those embedded in urban centres? Rural Caleta Huentelauquén and urban Caleta Guayacán, Coquimbo Region, were portrayed, using Participatory Rural Approach (PRA) tools triangulated with other qualitative methods. Our study shows that fishers and their sites differ in structural conditions, history, traditions and in their approach to the TURF. Competition for space among key actors seems to affect the process of becoming a TURF. Huentelauquén’s fishers experience an unpredictable resource, a remote location and the private embedment of the caleta, causing access problems and obstructing infrastructural development. These conditions, while restrictive in nature, also seem to strengthen fishers’ cohesion and organization. In contrast, Guayacán has access to infrastructure and enjoys urban facilities, but its urban location constrains them physically; their TURF being tiny, giving scarce incomes. Guayacán fishers, however, seem to be less dependent on their TURF, also showing less collective action attributes. Thus generalisations about the TURFs’ benefits and challenges are not easily achieved; the history, tradition and embedment of particular TURFs might be worth consideration at policy level."

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