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Emerging Commons within Artisanal Fisheries. The Chilean Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs) within a Broader Coastal Landscape

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Fernández, Gloria L. Gallardo; Stotz, Wolfgang; Aburto, Jaime; Mondaca, Carolin; Vera, Karoll
Journal: International Journal of the Commons
Volume: 5
Page(s): 459-484
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7555
Sector: Fisheries
Region: South America
Subject(s): artisanal fishing
land tenure and use
social behavior
Abstract: "Territorial User Rights in Fisheries (TURFs) have spread in Chile, since the late 1990s, in the form of commons institutions. TURFs are presented by some scholars as a social-ecological success; by others as showing economic and compliance problems. Studies looking at the material conditions in which fishers produce and reproduce their livelihoods, and in which TURFs emerge, are scarcer. Ostroms theory on the commons claims that certain collective action conditions have to be met to become thriving commons institutions. Our hypothesis is that while institutions are moulded by local material conditions, such as geographical location and social embeddedness, these impose challenges and constraints upon fishers influencing TURFs long-term viability. How are collective action conditions influenced when the new TURFs commons do not emerge in tabula rasa contexts but in occupied spaces? Do material conditions influence TURFs sustainability? This paper set out to explore these conditions. Huentelauquéns and Guayacáns TURFs (central-northern Chile) were chosen, as they represent two extremes (rural-urban; on private property-on State/municipal property; mainly diver mainly fisher) contexts in which TURFs have emerged. We mainly used Participatory Rural Approach (PRA) tools triangulated with other qualitative methods. This study shows that both social embeddedness (private/State lands), and geographical location (rural/urban) matter, resulting in different access to the coast for different TURFs, thus determining some important differences between our cases in at least three relevant areas: entrance, social relations between the fishers organization (entitled the TURFs) and the landowner (private or municipal/State) and the existence or absence of fishing and general infrastructure. Competition for space among key actors seems to affect the process of acquiring a TURF as well as the conditions conductive to collective action. TURFs assessments should therefore consider both, the local particularities of specific fishing communities and the larger structural context in which they emerge, that if not paid attention to, can weakens TURFs viability for sustainable fisheries."

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