Under Colombian law, the sale of game to cover basic needs (e.g. housing, health, education) or to buy other food items is not allowed, since this is considered commercial hunting and does not fall under provisions allowing for subsistence bushmeat hunting.
Law 611 (2000) opened the path to legal commercial use of wildlife. In practice, however, the requirements for obtaining legal permits for commercial hunting activities make it extremely challenging for rural communities to obtain them.
Aware of the role that bushmeat plays in food security, family economy and cultural identity among many rural communities, a number of high-profile Colombian environmental institutions participated in a workshop in 2015 to discuss the operationalization of the legal framework for the trade in bushmeat by rural communities.
One of the main conclusions of the workshop was that commercial hunting regulations need to legally distinguish between large-scale commercial hunting and the sale of surplus game by subsistence hunters in rural communities. Indeed, these two types of commercial hunting differ in terms of the scale of action, the governance systems in place and the ways in which benefits are equitably distributed among different actors.
The main recommendation was that the regulatory framework should adopt flexible management processes for the local development of sustainable management rules (e.g. list of tradable species, quotas, open seasons, monitoring and evaluation systems). This would allow for the recognition of the specificities of each socio-ecological context, rather than imposing a national-level framework that would likely fail, given Colombia’s diverse biological and cultural characteristics.