Marine and Fisheries Policies in Latin America: No time to waste

Rodrigo Oyanedel

The coasts of Latin America have nurtured ancient cultures and traditional practices. It can be witnessed even today through Peruvian artisanal fishermen and their handmade sailboats, or the Chilean Mapuches (indigenous people) and their customary uses of the ocean, dating thousands of years. Nowadays, the ocean plays a crucial role in Latin American economies. For instance, around 750,000 people are employed directly in fisheries in Chile, Peru and Mexico. Despite of their historical importance and the key role oceans play in the economies of Latin American countries today, there is a feeling that governments have “turned their backs on the ocean”. This feeling is reflected on high levels of overfishing, uncontrolled infrastructure development and general mismanagement of coastal areas. There is a debt to better manage marine and coastal areas in Latin America that cannot be left waiting.

A female bull shark off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Mexico

While this is not an easy challenge, a new publication (Spanish version) can help guide the way. The book “Marine and Fisheries Policies in Latin America: A Comparison of Selected Countries” consists of 12 chapters, which describe and reflect on a diversity of issues of relevance to Chile, Mexico and Peru, but equally for other countries in Latin America and beyond. It is a compilation of essays with a common structure that offers conclusions and recommendations regarding how to advance and improve conservation and sustainable development of the oceans, fisheries and coastal areas. Chapters are diverse, ranging from an analysis of new legislation to protect surf breaks in Peru to the role of the social sciences in fisheries management (see table of contents below).

Aerial photo of the coast of the indigenous reserve Lafken Mapu-Lahual, Chile.

The goal of the publication is twofold: on the one hand, it seeks to fill a gap in the reflection and analysis of institutional, policy and legal issues about oceans, coastal areas and fisheries in Chile, Mexico and Peru. Second, it aims to contribute to policy discussions and national agendas in a context of growing collaborations, opportunities and investments to support policies and interventions that improve the way countries treat their coasts, oceans and natural resources.

Small-scale artisanal fishermen in Peru heading home.

It is only recently that the ocean has started to occupy more visible spaces in national conservation and sustainable development programs and strategies in Latin American countries, but it’s not enough. It is time for a new way to approach, manage and use the oceans and coasts of Latin America. One that includes tailored solutions and adequate policy-making, collaboration amongst countries and capacity to adapt to change. While only a first step, this new book can be used by practitioners, governments, researchers or anyone who understands that there is no time to waste in the quest to manage Latin America’s coasts and oceans sustainably.

Marine and Fisheries Policies in Latin America

A Comparison of Selected Countries, 1st Edition

Edited by Manuel Ruiz Muller, Rodrigo Oyanedel, Bruno Monteferri


Table of Contents book

Foreword by Pedro Solano

Prologue by Juan Carlos Castilla

Introduction - Manuel Ruiz, Rodrigo Oyanedel and Bruno Monteferri

1. Marine, coastal and fisheries issues in Chile, Mexico and Peru: an initial institutional and policy review - Bruno Monteferri and Manuel Ruiz Muller

2. Industrial fisheries in Latin America: challenges and lessons from Chile, Mexico and Peru - Santiago de la Puente and Rocío López de la Lama

3. Marine bioprospecting - Liliana Pardo Lopez

4. Illegal fishing and non-compliance - Rodrigo Oyanedel

5. Extractive Industries in coastal and marine zones - Andrea Cuba

6. Marine protected areas -Pedro Solano and Alfredo Gálvez

7. Marine and coastal planning - Fernando A. Rosete Vergés

8. From customary law to the implementation of safeguard measures: the case of "Marine and Coastal Areas for Indigenous Peoples" in Chile - Luciano Hiriart-Bertrand, Jose Manuel Troncoso, Carlos I. Vargas and Alejandro Correa

9. Protection of migratory marine species - Ximena Velez-Zuazo

10. Prevention of marine pollution from litter in Peru - Irene Hofmeijer

11. Collective Action Spaces and Transformations in the Governance of Fisheries Resources: Towards Democratic and Deliberative Management - Rodrigo A. Estévez, Stefan Gelcich

12. The legal protection of surf breaks: an option for conservation and development - Bruno Monteferri, Manuel Ruiz and Christel Scheske

Epilogue - Manuel Ruiz, Rodrigo Oyanedel and Bruno Monteferri