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2018-06-19 | project

Small scale aquaculture as a livelihood alternative with marine conservation benefits in coastal communities in Chile

The project will inform the Chilean government’s implementation of Small Scale Aquaculture (SSA) to reduce pressure on wild marine resources and to provide income-generating activities to vulnerable artisanal fishing communities. This policy’s resource conservation effectiveness depends on fishers’ decisions to allocate labor time away from wild fish harvest.  Similarly, its poverty alleviation effectiveness depends on the relative value of SSA compared to other labor uses, and the amount of labor time allocated to SSA.  These labor allocation decisions will vary across coastal communities due to the heterogeneity of the biological, economic, and social settings across the region. In addition, both individual and group resource extraction decisions occur within a context of overlapping resource rights and institutions, which will also affect the response to SSA policy. The project will develop an analytical framework for understanding household and group resource management decisions and apply a specially designed survey to a sample of artisanal fishermen in the Los Lagos region in Chile. Econometric analysis of these survey data, based on the economic decision framework, will characterize the decisions of individuals in coastal communities in response to proposed policy instruments, while reflecting the impact of overlapping resource management institutions and the heterogeneity across settings in terms of income-generating opportunities. The project’s outputs will enable the Chilean government to target and tailor programs to individual coastal communities to improve the success of these programs in reducing poverty and promoting sustainable use of fish and coastal resources.  The ability to target appropriate policies across a diverse region will increase efficiency and lead to a larger positive impact than could be attained with blanket SSA policies across the region. In addition, the project will contribute to the natural resource economics and policy literature on household and group resource extraction decisions, and on interactions among resource management institutions.