Livelihood Diversification as a Form of Resilience? An Ethnographic Account of Artisanal Fishers in Chile’s Lakes Region
Artisanal fishers worldwide face a variety of challenges to their way of life, including declining fish populations, poor resource governance, and climatic and ecological change. To manage these risks and maintain their ties to fishing, many of them diversify their livelihood strategies. This chapter, based on fieldwork in Chile’s Lakes Region in 2016, presents an ethnographic and empirical analysis of fishers’ livelihoods, their perceptions of social and ecological change, and the importance, but limitations, of diversified livelihood strategies. I focus my analysis on fishers’ responses to the 2016 red tide and salmon-dumping crisis that resulted in the closure of all wide-caught fisheries and aquaculture exports in Chiloé. While fishers waited for environmental conditions to improve, they were left to cope without their main source of income, dealing a significant blow to their economic and social well-being and testing their strategy of diversified livelihoods.
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