Sustainable development for 16 fishing communities along Chile’s coast

The livelihoods of more than 140,000 fisherfolk along Chile’s 4,000 miles (~6,000km) coast are dependent upon sustainable fisheries and face an increasing challenge in reconciling conservation with the ability to generate a sustainable livelihood.

Trombollito robusto by Rodrigo Sánchez Grez for Capital Azul

To catalyze a pathway to sustainable economic development for fishing communities along Chile’s coast, the BHP Foundation has committed US$4.6 million over six years to support of the Coastal Communities Network.  

The Coastal Communities Network is a collaboration between organizations with innovative solutions to strengthen community resilience in coastal areas of Chile.

With a cross-cutting focus on community leadership and participation, capacity building, outreach and education, the Network will work on restoring coastal marine biodiversity; promoting sustainable fisheries management; diversifying local economies; and improving food security.  

The new network was launched at the Puerto de Ideas Biobío 2023 Festival this week, where over 40 national and international experts came together to reflect on the relationship between humans and nature, with a focus on the ocean, the coast, and the conservation and recovery of its resources.

Coastal Communities Network launch at Puerto de Ideas Biobío Festival 2023
Sustainable development: a common goal  

Capital Azul Foundation and Chile Foundation are the first two organizations making up the Coastal Communities Network. Their initiatives use complementary approaches, strategies, and tools toward the common goal of sustainably managing the coastal resources on which fishing communities depend.

The Socio-Ecological Resilience of Marine Refuges was developed by Capital Azul Foundation and is managed by artisanal fishers in central Chile to strengthen the coastal-marine ecosystems, fisheries, and communities within a critical reserve network in the Valparaíso region. The hope is to scale up the model to other regions of Chile if successful.  

To date, Capital Azul has established five Marine Refuges in the Valparaiso region. In this alliance artisanal fisher’s unions voluntarily agree to create fishing exclusion zones within their management areas. It supports fishing and conservation in the same system and empowers fishers to lead the conservation and restoration of marine-coastal ecosystems so that artisanal fishing has a greater role in supporting the sustainability of the ocean. 

The Sustainable Coves Program run by Chile Foundation seeks to improve sustainable fishing practices to increase the value of production, enhance marketing strategies, and diversify fishing and aquaculture activities, resulting in better economic outcomes for the local communities.  

By incorporating innovation in artisanal fishing and aquaculture, fostering the adoption of more sustainable practices and promoting sustainable economic and social models, the Sustainable Coves Program aims to contribute to healthy ocean ecosystems and socio-economic growth of coastal communities.

BHP Foundation will facilitate these initiatives under the Coastal Communities Network so that organizations can make greater impact, more quickly through shared learnings. The network will build evidence so that solutions can be replicated and scaled, and contribute to improved public policies for sustainable coastal marine management.


The Coastal Communities Network and Puerto de Ideas Biobío 2023 Festival are supported by the BHP Foundation Chile Country program that enhances the resilience of communities to respond to rapid environmental change and strengthens the capability of organizations and groups to participate in decision-making. Learn more

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Chile Program

Learn more about the BHP Foundation’s work in Chile with partners including Chile Foundation and Capital Azul Foundation.

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