FAO and the GEF

Partnering for sustainable agri-food systems and the environment

Living climate change on the coastline of Chile


The article first appeared here.

Fishing is one of Chile’s major agricultural sectors. But dramatic environmental changes are forcing artisanal fishers and small-scale fish farmers along the country’s 6 400-kilometre coastline to modify or supplement their activities, as the availability and abundance of species are affected.

Since Chile ratified the Paris Agreement in 2017, the Government has been looking to reduce emissions and improve the country’s ability to adapt to climate change. With funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), FAO and Chile’s Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Ministry of the Environment, conducted a project from 2017 to 2021 entitled, ‘Strengthening the Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector’, to help reduce the vulnerability of four coves and their communities.

Working together, FAO and Chile developed a specific initiative to help the country streamline its government processes in the sector, while also providing training for artisanal fishers and communities to improve their capacity and diversify their activities in response to climate change.

More than 140 participants – men and women represented equally - from the coves of Riquelme, Tongoy, Coliumo and El Manzano-Hualaihué took part in the pilot project, which included training for coastal communities and school workshops. More than 400 public officials, national experts and community decision-makers also participated in the programme. The project trained artisanal fishers on alternative income sources, like small-scale aquaculture, to help them be more flexible in order to survive. Fishers also gained knowledge about how to value and promote their region’s natural assets and cultural heritage to supplement their marine resources through tourism.

With so much coastline in Chile, artisanal fisheries and small-scale aquaculture have no choice but to adapt to climate change and the current situation, but if vital marine resources cease to exist, then what? It is a question for the global community not just for the people of Chile.