Opportunities and challenges for small-scale aquaculture: The stakeholders’ perspective in Los Lagos Region-Chile
Albers, Heidi J.
We identify and explore the potential opportunities and challenges for promoting and expanding small-scale aquaculture (SSA) as an additional income-generating activity for coastal communities in southern Chile. Based on a conceptual model of SSA adoption decisions, we conducted field key informant semistructured interviews with stakeholders in the Los Lagos region and in the regional capital city, Puerto Montt. We conducted a qualitative analysis of the interviews to identify potential resource users’ perceptions of current SSA opportunities. Interpreting the content analysis results through the lens of economic decisions in the conceptual model, we find that weak monitoring and enforcement, difficulties in adapting to new jobs, limited recent spatial planning, constraints on access to marine user rights, and insufficient market development for marine products are among the main obstacles to the adoption of SSA. The stakeholders view SSA as an opportunity to expand marine-based productive activities under the continuous decline in wild fisheries. SSA adoption is perceived as a gradual transition process that requires cultural capital and knowledge, given the lack of familiarity with management and the legal and economic aspects of aquaculture. In contrast to the concerns of potential SSA adopters, government stakeholders emphasize concern over the lack of definitions for SSA, norms, and regulations. We discuss how public policy to promote SSA in Chile could target the key concerns of potential SSA adopters.