Rodrigo Oyanedel


Image removed.Being born in a country like Chile gives you no chance of escaping the Ocean. Wherever you are in Chile you’ll never be further than 400 kilometers away from the coast. Since I was a kid I was intrigued not only by this immense body of water and its living organisms, but also with the way people interact with the sea and live from its resources. This interest led me to do my undergrad studies in Marine Biology where I began to understand that conservation and natural resource management does not only deal with the biology of the resources to be managed, but most importantly, with the people that interact with those resources.

Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to travel along the coast and go to sea with the local fishermen. I have been out dozens of times, slept on-board and enjoyed good conversations with fishermen from northern Peru to the Chilean Patagonia and the Philippines. It is during the time sailing, collecting the nets, or freezing on a night shift that I have learnt the most about how to manage natural resources. When you go deep into a fisher’s heart and understand their motivations, challenges and daily life experiences you get to a place where most practitioners or scientists don’t go, you understand why they fish and what it means to them. Is the connection to every single fisher I have met that drives my interest in learning and understanding how to better conserve and manage marine resources so that fishers can thrive at the same time than the ecosystems they rely on are maintained.


My research interests are around interdisciplinary methods and approaches for conserving the coastal ocean and manage small-scale fisheries. With my research I hope to contribute to a new vision of the way we manage our resources; one that includes tailored solutions considering local conditions, participatory processes and decentralized decision-making. I believe socio-ecological systems are complex and operate at different temporal and spatial scales that need to be accounted for. While central governments do have an important role in giving overreaching directions, the biggest challenge today relies on creating the governance structures that confer local users with the power to adaptably manage their resources, and to build the local capacities for proper and long-lasting management institutions.


CurreImage removed.ntly I am focused around better understanding small-scale illegal fishing.

My research so far has been concentrated on ways to estimate illegal fishing activity empirically and to understand possible drivers of non-compliance.

The illegal fishing problem is very extended in Chile, and results from our investigations show that for some species the illegal catch is 2 to 3 times the legal catch. Finding solutions for this crisis is imperative in order to conserve Chile’s costal ocean and fisheries.

Learn more about my research here

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC)

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Professional Title (08.2013)


Laboratory for the Study of Socio-Ecological Systems, Pontificia Universidad Calica de Chile.

Researcher, Labs of Dr. Juan Carlos Castilla and Dr. Stefan Gelcich. Conduct theoretical and applied research in socio-ecological systems related to small-scale fisheries management and conservation in Chile. (3-2012 – 06-2018 (intermittent)).


Bren School of Environmental Science & Management – University of California, Santa Barbara

Master of Environmental Science and Management (06.2015)

Specialization: Coastal Marine Resources Management

Thesis: A Decision Support Framework for Designing Territorial Use Rights for Fishing


The Environmental Defense Fund, Cebu, Philippines.

Fish Forever Intern

Fieldwork analysing data-gathering processes as part of multi-organizational Fish Forever project in the face of TURF implementation. (06-09.2014)


The Environmental Defense Fund, Santiago, Chile.

Chile Country Consultant

Coordinate scientific research regarding the ecological interaction between hake and squid in the Humboldt current. (07.2016-07.2017)


The Walton Family Foundation, Santiago, Chile.

Country Representative Chile/Peru

Design and implementation of philanthropic strategy to bring Chilean and Peruvian fisheries  to sustainable levels. (10.2015-12.2017)

Rodrigo is supervised by EJ Millner- Gulland, and funded by the Chilean Government.


2013: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile - Top Grades of Generation

2013:  University of California, Santa Barbara - Latin American Fisheries Fellow Recipient (complete academic scholarship for Master’s level study,

2016: 7th World Fisheries Congress, South Korea. Travel Award.

2017: 2nd Conference of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society, Mexico. Travel Award.

2018: Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Chile – Doctorate Scholarship Program Recipient

2018: Wolfson College, Oxford University -  Travel Grant for Fieldwork

2018: IFOP – Project: “Non-Compliance in the Anchoveta/Sardina Mixed Fishery”

2019: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – Scholarship Research Program Recipient (£4,600)

2020: The Rufford Foundation - Small Grant for Nature Conservation (£6,000)



British Ecological Society

Society for Conservation Biology

Latin American Fisheries Fellowship

IUCN Green Criminology Specialist Group

  1. Oyanedel, R., Gelcich, S., & Milner‐Gulland, E. J. Motivations for (non‐) compliance with conservation rules by small‐scale resource users. Conservation Letters, e12725.
  2. Oyanedel, R., Marín, A., Castilla, J. C., & Gelcich, S. (2016). Establishing marine protected areas through bottom‐up processes: insights from two contrasting initiatives in Chile. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 184-195.
  3. Oyanedel, R., Macy Humberstone, J., Shattenkirk, K., Rodriguez Van-Dyck, S., Joye Moyer, K., Poon, S., ... & Costello, C. (2017). A decision support tool for designing TURF- reserves. Bulletin of Marine Science, 93(1), 155-172.
  4. Oyanedel, R., Keim, A., Castilla, J. C., & Gelcich, S. (2017). Illegal fishing and territorial user rights in Chile. Conservation Biology. DOI:10.1111/cobi.13048
  5. Loury, E., Ainsley, S.M., Bower, S., Chuenpagdee, R., Farrell, T., Guthrie, A.G., Heng, S., Lunn, Z.,  Oyanedel, R., Rocliffe, S., Satumanatpan, S., & Cooke, S.J. (2017). Salty Stories, Fresh Spaces: Lessons for Aquatic Protected Areas from marine and freshwater experiences. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI:10.1002/aqc.2868
  6. Lee Hannah,Christopher Costello,Vittoria Elliot,Brandon Owashi,So Nam,Rodrigo Oyanedel,Ratha Chea,Ouk Vibol,Chheng Phen,Gavin McDonald. Designing freshwater protected areas (FPAs) for indiscriminate fisheriesEcological Modelling. 1 February 2019

  7. Booth H, Arias M, Brittain S, Challender DWS, Khanyari M, Kuiper T, Li Y, Olmedo A, Oyanedel R, Pienkowski T and Milner-Gulland EJ (2021) “Saving Lives, Protecting Livelihoods, and Safeguarding Nature”: Risk-Based Wildlife Trade Policy for Sustainable Development Outcomes Post-COVID-19. Front. Ecol. Evol. 9:639216. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.639216

2nd Conference of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society 2017, Mexico –  Speaker: Oyanedel, R., Keim, A., Castilla, J. C., & Gelcich, S. Illegal fishing and territorial user rights in Chile.

North American Association of Fisheries Economists 2017 (NAAFE), Mexico –  Speaker: Oyanedel, R. Walton Family Foundation Chile Program: Combining Philanthropic Efforts with Private Capital for Fisheries Recovery?

7th World Fisheries Congress 2016, Korea –  Speaker: Oyanedel, R., Marín, A., Castilla, J. C., & Gelcich, S. Establishing marine protected areas through bottom‐up processes: insights from two contrasting initiatives in Chile.

Speaker: Oyanedel, R., Owashi, B., Costello, C. & Hanna, L. Tonle-Sap Fisheries Model: Spatial Tool for Designing Reserves and Fishing Zones.

2nd World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress 2014, MexicoSpeaker: Oyanedel, R., Marín, A., Castilla, J. C., & Gelcich, S. Establishing marine protected areas through bottom‐up processes: insights from two contrasting initiatives in Chile.