, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 706–716 | Cite as

Distal impacts of aquarium trade: Exploring the emerging sandhopper (Orchestoidea tuberculata) artisanal shore gathering fishery in Chile

  • Sebastián Tapia-Lewin
  • Karina Vergara
  • Christian De La Barra
  • Natalio Godoy
  • Juan Carlos Castilla
  • Stefan Gelcich


Artisanal fishery activities support the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide, particularly in developing countries. Within these fisheries, distal global drivers can promote switching between alternative target resources. These drivers can promote the rapid development of new, unregulated and previously unexploited fisheries that pose a threat to the sustainability of ecosystems. In this paper, we describe a new artisanal shore gathering activity that targets a previously unexploited resource: the sandhopper (Orchestoidea tuberculata). The activity is driven by aquarium trade demand for food. We used mixed methods to describe the activity, assessed basic socio-economic incentives, and estimated Catches per Unit Effort. Results show that the sandhopper plays an important role for the livelihoods of shore gatherers engaged in the activity. Gatherers have adapted and developed two main extraction methods with different degrees of investment and extraction rates. Furthermore, gatherers have developed local knowledge regarding the ecology and management of the resource. Results show that economic incentives can motivate a rapid expansion of this unregulated activity. Future research gaps and management options to address the development of this fishery are discussed in light of these findings.


Adaptive capacity Fishery specialization Gleaning New fishery resource Social–ecological system Telecoupling 



We thank gatherers who contributed their knowledge on the new gathering activity. We thank Becas Chile: Doctorado en el extranjero 2015, Fondecyt PostDoctorado N° 3150138, Financiamiento Basal FB 0002, Nucleo-Milenio Initiatives P10-033 and NC-120086 from the Ministerio de Economía, Fondecyt 1160145, Latin American Fisheries Fellowship, The Walton Family Foundation and The Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship Programs. We also thank Verónica Ortiz and Leonardo Peralta. We acknowledge Sara-Katherine Coxon and Rick Thomas for their help in editing the manuscript. Authors acknowledge two anonymous reviewers and Professor Omar Defeo for their comments and contributions that deeply improved the quality of this paper. The opinions represented in this paper are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their host institutions.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastián Tapia-Lewin
    • 2
    • 1
  • Karina Vergara
    • 1
  • Christian De La Barra
    • 3
  • Natalio Godoy
    • 1
    • 4
  • Juan Carlos Castilla
    • 1
  • Stefan Gelcich
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES) and Centro de Conservación Marina, Departamento de Ecologia, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, 2400 Bren Hall University of California, Santa BarbaraCAUSA
  3. 3.Dirección Regional de Pesca de la Región del Libertador Bernardo O’HigginsServicio Nacional de PescaPichilemuChile
  4. 4.The Nature ConservancySantiagoChile

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