The construction of ecological restoration strategies, carried out in the Middle Magdalena River by the NGO Fundación Alma together with artisanal fishers, establishes negotiation and agreement processes with the actors present in the territory. These strategies seek to mitigate ecological degradation from river diversion works and oil- and agro-industrial infrastructures and vindicate fishers’ communities as political subjects with economic, cultural and decision-making rights over the resources of the river. The building and development of these ecological restoration strategies, as well as the relations between fishers and other actors in the Middle Magdalena that result from such strategies, have not been studied in detail.

PhD researcher: Juliana Sandoval

Given the described background, the research on the Magdalena River poses the main question: How do the Middle Magdalena fishing communities’ agro-ecological river restoration processes build on interwoven artisanal peasant-fishing norms, practices, and strategies, and how are these negotiated and disputed with different actors in the river’s hydrosocial territory? First, the divergent understandings of the hydrosocial territory of the Magdalena’s middle basin will be examined through critical mapping and socio-spatial analysis of the different stakeholders’ ontologies, interests, and strategies regarding restoration. Second, the different infrastructures present in the Middle Magdalena will be investigated in order to identify how they affect the river and have conflicts with alternative agro-ecological and fishing technologies. Third, the dynamics of legal pluralism of the fishing communities will be analyzed so to identify how they negotiate their own normative and techno-organizational strategies. Finally, a reflection on how artisanal fishing as an ecological restoration strategy can be understood as a process of fostering environmental justice will be presented.