Monitoring the sustainability of Lessonia nigrescens (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) in northern Chile under strong harvest pressure

J. M.Alonso Vega, Bernardo R. Broitman, Julio A. Vásquez

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37 Scopus citations


In the last decade, exploitation of Lessonia nigrescens in northern Chile has been carried out using the best practices agreed upon by consensus between fishermen, industry, government, and scientists. These practices focus on the selective harvest of sporophytes to allow the maintenance of a reproductive stock, facilitating recruitment and minimizing grazing of benthic herbivores. To improve coverage and accessibility, enforcement of administration measures along the northern coast of Chile requires ecological indicators to monitor the sustainability of Lessonia kelps. Over 2 years, density, biomass, recruitment, and size structure of Lessonia were sampled seasonally in coastal areas with different regimens of harvesting administration as follows: (1) Management Areas for Exploitation of Benthic Resources (MAEBR), (2) Open Access Areas (OAA), and (3) Marine Protected Areas without human intervention. The use of demographic parameters as ecological indicators allows discrimination between kelp beds where good harvesting practices have been applied by users (MAEBR), and areas where management recommendations have not been put in practice (OAA). The ecological indicators reinforced the concept of co-management in MAEBR as a viable harvesting administration system along the Chilean coast, and indicated a high-harvesting pressure in OAA. Moreover, together with other harvesting parameters, they could be useful to justify the application of other administration strategies, such as quotas or bans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-801
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2014


  • Administration policies
  • Conservation
  • Intertidal beds
  • Kelp harvesting
  • Management
  • Natural populations


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