ACS and its partners (Pontífica Universidad Católica de Chile and Shellcatch) are working with fishing organizations along the central coast of Chile to create a network of marine reserves that are managed by fishermen.

Over the past several years, we have designed a program that is both desirable to fishing communities and leverages Chilean law that grants fishing cooperatives exclusive access rights to stretches of the coast. Known as TURFs (Territorial User Rights for Fisheries), these access rights are an important source of income for fishing communities via benthic fisheries.

A number of fishing communities have chosen to participate in the Capital Azul Coastal Marine Reserve Program. They agree to set aside a portion of their TURF as a no-take zone and agree to conduct anti-poaching surveillance.

In exchange, the community receives an annual payment to help with enforcement costs, as well as a video coastal monitoring system that independently monitors the no-take zone. ACS then monitors the biodiversity at the no-take zone and control sites to document changes and benefits. With support from Walton Family Foundation, we will be working over the next year to scale the program in central Chile by enrolling more fishing organizations in the Capital Azul Coastal Marine Reserve Program.

ACS Associate Stefan Gelcich and a Capital Azul Reserve Program  sign at the fishing community headquarters of Maitencillo in central Chile.

ACS Associate Stefan Gelcich and a Capital Azul Reserve Program  sign at the fishing community headquarters of Maitencillo in central Chile.