Promoting small scale aquaculture in southern Chile: Targeting across time and location

Policy Brief
1 January 2023

Heidi Jo Albers, Carlos Chávez, Jorge Dresdner, Mauricio Leiva


Chile has a 6,345 km long coastline with a productive marine ecosystem. Coastal communities depend heavily on fish resources for their livelihood but resource depletion threatens those livelihoods. Local people have deep roots in their communities and lifestyles, which limits their willingness to change their work to non-marine activities. The development of small-scale aquaculture has been proposed as a means to generate new income opportunities. 

Policy lessons 

The results of the study have several policy implications: 

• The challenges of using marine activities for economic development include increasing market opportunities and demand, dealing with the increasing competition for space and resources, and the need for enforcement to protect resources. 

• The transition from fishing to aquaculture is a gradual process that requires cultural change management and is likely to offer a complementary income source for coastal households, rather than a substitution for traditional fishing activities. 

• Households located in different biogeographical zones perform different activities based on the set of opportunities each location provides. For a successful expansion of small-scale aquaculture and increasing incomes, policies and programs should be targeted and tailored to individual coastal communities based on the productivity characteristics of that zone. 

• The lack of interest in moving underscores the need for geographically-targeted policies rather than region-wide policies. 

• Targeting policies across the year to capture periods of relative labor availability could also increase engagement in new activities, increase diversification, and add to income levels. 

• Overall, targeting and tailoring programs across both space and time will increase efficiency and generate a larger positive impact than uniform policies. 

Publication reference
EfD Policy Brief MS# 947
Publication | 20 January 2023