Marine stocking in Chile: a review of past progress and future opportunities for enhancing marine artisanal fisheries

Chile has a long history of restocking, stock enhancement, and translocation to support artisanal or small-scale fisheries; however, these programs have been scarcely discussed in the scientific literature. Here, we present a review of previous initiatives and discuss specific areas for future progress. We identified 204 releases across 117 different areas, involving 7 taxonomic groups and 22 species (20 marine and 2 freshwater). Marine stocking mainly occurred within the context of the spatial framework through which artisanal fisheries are managed [Management and Exploitation Areas for Benthic Resources (MEABR)], and over 60% involved translocation of wild individuals rather than release of hatchery-reared seed. While “stock enhancement” was the primary intention for most releases, it is unclear whether depleted spawning biomass or other recruitment limitations were the primary motivation, and few projects reported more than one stocking event. The echinoid Loxechinus albus and the gastropod Concholepas concholepas were the main target species. Only 6% of projects examined reported positive results that could be linked to releases, and none reported the use of tagging or analysis of costs or benefits. There are several areas for targeted development that should improve the social and economic outcomes from marine stocking activities. This synthesis provides a snapshot of marine stocking in Chile to date and highlights opportunities that are relevant to both Chile and other nations with substantial small-scale fisheries.