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article imageAntofagasta Fishing Cove — Seafood landings on the desert’s edge Special

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 2, 2013 in Travel
Antofagasta - The port of Antofagasta, located on the Pacific Ocean at the edge of Chile’s Atacama Desert, is mostly a mining and industrial center; however, fishing is also an important economic activity attracting local buyers and external visitors.
Being a fairly long country, the total coastline of Chile’s mainland and adjacent islands is about 84 thousand kilometers. With such long-ranging waterfront, it is not surprising that Chile is among the world's major fishing nations.
Along the Chilean coast there are hundreds of fishing coves and villages. Some of the smaller fishing coves supply seafood to the fishermen’s families, or the local population, usually the inhabitants of the coastal town associated with the cove. Other fish landing centers handle larger volumes of fish that provide seafood to a city or a region. Still major harbours receive huge volumes of products for export or destined to industrial processes, such as fish-meal or fish-oil production.
Access to the Antofagasta Fisheries Terminal in the northern section of the port of Antofagasta  Chi...
Access to the Antofagasta Fisheries Terminal in the northern section of the port of Antofagasta, Chile. Part of the city extends to the hills shown in the background. Beyond the mountains is the 105,000 square kilometres plateau of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest deserts on earth.
View of the Pan-American Highway (Route CH-5) which runs for about 1000 km along the Atacama Desert ...
View of the Pan-American Highway (Route CH-5) which runs for about 1000 km along the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The terrain in this region has been compared to that on Mars.
A section of the Antofagasta Fisheries Terminal looking towards the city.
A section of the Antofagasta Fisheries Terminal looking towards the city.
The fishing cove is protected from the wind and the waves of the Pacific Ocean by a long dock leavin...
The fishing cove is protected from the wind and the waves of the Pacific Ocean by a long dock leaving a channel between the red and green light signals for the boats to come in and out.
The Antofagasta Fishing Cove, also known as "Terminal Pesquero" (Fishing Terminal), fits among the intermediate level of fish landing sites where artisanal fishermen capture and sell moderate amounts of fish to supply the local market and to provide fresh seafood to few inland cities and towns located in the middle of the Atacama Desert, or near the Andes, such as the cities of Calama and San Pedro de Atacama.
The Antofagasta Fishing Terminal supplies fresh seafood to several city restaurants and those that occupy commercial premises next to the cove. It also attracts local people coming daily to buy fish and shellfish, and sightseers from other parts of the country and abroad who visit the place because of its picturesque setting and cultural value. The colorful fishing terminal, apart from having high activity of boats and fishermen, also has abundant marine wildlife, including birds and mammals, many of which receive food scraps from the fishermen and are now semi-domesticated.
When fishing is slow many boats remain moored within the terminal  serving as perch for seagulls.
When fishing is slow many boats remain moored within the terminal, serving as perch for seagulls.
A solitary fisherman works on his nets at the Antofagasta Fishing Cove.
A solitary fisherman works on his nets at the Antofagasta Fishing Cove.
A long dock facing the ocean leaves a protected quay for the boats and where a large number of sea-l...
A long dock facing the ocean leaves a protected quay for the boats and where a large number of sea-lions live off the fish scraps from the fishermen and fish cleaners.
The man wearing a red shirt is one of many  fish-cleaners  at the Fish Terminal. He works cleaning f...
The man wearing a red shirt is one of many "fish-cleaners" at the Fish Terminal. He works cleaning fish for customers in exchange of tips. Fish cleaners have "devoted followers" among the local marine birds.
The cove is located in the northern part of the city which is home to some 350 thousand people. Antofagasta, located 1,100 kilometres north of Santiago de Chile, is an important fishery landing port, but the economy of the region is mostly based on other industrial endeavours. The city and the Antofagasta region are the most important mining centers in the country. Over 50% of the minerals, especially copper, come from large mining sites located in the region.
This photo essay shows the interesting and colourful activity of the Antofagasta Fisheries Terminal in northern Chile.
Fishermen arrive to the cove with their catch of smelts. Untangling the small fish from the nets is ...
Fishermen arrive to the cove with their catch of smelts. Untangling the small fish from the nets is hard, tedious work.
Fishermen arrive to the cove with their catch of smelts. Untangling the small fish from the nets is ...
Fishermen arrive to the cove with their catch of smelts. Untangling the small fish from the nets is hard, tedious work.
The South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens)  also known as the Patagonian sea lion  inhabits the...
The South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens), also known as the Patagonian sea lion, inhabits the coasts of Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Southern Brazil. They are not very popular with fishermen because they damage nets and steal fish. Those living as families at the Antofagasta fishing cove are very tame.
The Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus) lives along the coast of South America from Ecuador to south...
The Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus) lives along the coast of South America from Ecuador to southern Chile. Since 2008, they are listed (IUCN Red List) as "Near threatened". Pelicans living in fishing coves become really tame and friendly.
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