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Conserv Biol. 2012 Dec;26(6):1005-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01928.x. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Territorial user rights for fisheries as ancillary instruments for marine coastal conservation in Chile.

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Laboratorio Internacional en Cambio Global (LINCGLOBAL), Esporles, España.


Territorial user rights for fisheries have been advocated as a way to achieve sustainable resource management. However, few researchers have empirically assessed their potential as ancillary marine conservation instruments by comparing them to no-take marine protected areas. In kelp (Lessonia trabeculata) forests of central Chile, we compared species richness, density, and biomass of macroinvertebrates and reef fishes among territorial-user-right areas with low-level and high-level enforcement, no-take marine protected areas, and open-access areas in 42 100-m subtidal transects. We also assessed structural complexity of the kelp forest and substratum composition. Multivariate randomized permutation tests indicated macroinvertebrate and reef fish communities associated with the different access regimes differed significantly. Substratum composition and structural complexity of kelp forest did not differ among access regimes. Univariate analyses showed species richness, biomass, and density of macroinvertebrates and reef fishes were greater in highly enforced territorial-user-right areas and no-take marine protected areas than in open-access areas. Densities of macroinvertebrates and reef fishes of economic importance were not significantly different between highly enforced territorial-user-right and no-take marine protected areas. Densities of economically important macroinvertebrates in areas with low-level enforcement were significantly lower than those in areas with high-level enforcement and no-take marine protected areas but were significantly higher than in areas with open access. Territorial-user-right areas could be important ancillary conservation instruments if they are well enforced.

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