The failure of the centralized management system and the intense over-exploitation of benthonic resources along the Chilean coast motivated the design and implementation of an innovative co-management policy in 1999. Although its positive effects have already been recognized at biological and organizational level, doubts have been posed with regards to its economic sustainability. In this paper, we present a bio-economic evaluation at national level for one of the most important and valuable benthonic resources, the Loco ecosystem. A dynamic simulation model is developed in order to compare and evaluate the effectiveness of the traditional centralized management and the co-management system recently implemented in Chile. The results show that the amount of captures and effort devoted during the centralized management period were significantly underestimated due to the existence of illegal captures. On the other side, the results reveal that, after a fearful beginning, the values for revenues, capture and stock were larger than those that would have been obtained in case the former centralized system had persisted.