Small-Scale Fisheries on the Pacific Coast of Colombia: Historical Context, Current Situation, and Future Challenges

  • Gustavo A. Castellanos-Galindo
  • Luis Alonso Zapata Padilla
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 19)


Small-scale fisheries in the Colombian Pacific are not very significant in a global context but make a large contribution to total national fish landings, play a pivotal role in sustaining the livelihoods of coastal communities, and supply the demand for fish protein at the local and national levels. This importance is likely to rise in the coming years given the estimated increase of national fish consumption, the regional infrastructure development plans, and the predicted increase in coastal accessibility if the peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC is successfully implemented and the region is pacified. This chapter aims to explain how artisanal fisheries have developed in the Colombian Pacific coast over the last 30 years, explaining the different types of fisheries, their current situation, and the advances and challenges facing sustainable management. Signs of overexploitation of some fisheries resources appeared as early as the 1990s (e.g., white shrimps, mangrove cockles). Updated stock assessments of these resources are needed, together with other target fisheries currently under pressure. Ecosystem-based fisheries management actions, like the establishment of MPAs and the introduction of fishing gear that reduces bycatch, have resulted in increased awareness of the importance of sustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. Current challenges include further increasing this level of awareness about sustainable fishing practices, and overcoming the frequent disconnect between fisheries governmental, private, and other societal sectors. Advances in these areas could lead to more sustainable fishing practices that could be used to face the predicted scenarios of increased fish and shellfish national demand.


Fisheries management Mangrove fisheries Fisheries governance Afro-Colombians Colombian Pacific 



WWF Colombia activities in the Colombian Pacific have been possible due to the support from the Walton Family Foundation, WWF Netherlands, WWF US (Project No. 4138), WWF UK, AUNAP, Rufford Small Grants Foundation, the Conservation Leadership Programme, Colombian National Parks, several Afro-Colombian councils and fishers’ organizations, and Corponariño, among others. Many artisanal fishers have been involved in different processes facilitated by WWF along the Colombian Pacific coast, to whom we owe our utmost gratitude. We thank the many consultants working for WWF on the Pacific coast of Colombia. Comments by Mary Lou Higgins, Director of WWF Colombia, are greatly appreciated. GC-G is supported by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo A. Castellanos-Galindo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Luis Alonso Zapata Padilla
    • 1
  1. 1.World Wildlife Fund - WWF Colombia, Programa Marino CosteroCaliColombia
  2. 2.Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)BremenGermany

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