Subsistence in the Copper River Basin and Prince William Sound, Alaska: A Statistical Analysis Determining the Effectiveness of Subsistence Resource Management for Sockeye and Chinook Salmon.
Schommer, Kayla M
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Many of Alaska’s salmon fisheries are models of biological success in terms of population size, structure, and stability, utilizing the precautionary principle to promote maximum sustainable yield. At the same time the fisheries include multiple stakeholders with conflicting viewpoints and challenges. The State of Alaska has a statutory priority to ensure subsistence stakeholders receive the harvest they need first, while distributing the opportunity to harvest any abundance of fish thereafter equitably amongst the remaining user groups. Different stakeholders hold different perspectives on how successful the State is at managing these fisheries. I explore the management methods in the Copper River Basin in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska, using statistical analyses to establish whether existing sources of information can be used to determine the impact and efficacy of regulations on the State of Alaska’s priorities. In PWS the salmon fishery is important to three very different user groups, offering an opportunity to explore how the State manages a high-stakes salmon fishery with multiple stakeholder involvement. Subsistence harvest and users are the primary focus of my inquiry, while I also examine personal use and commercial fisheries. For a period of 34 years from 1979 to 2015, changes in state and federal regulations along with escapement numbers are used to determine relationships between management and harvest in the PWS. The results of my investigation indicate that the State of Alaska is meeting their management goals by sustaining fish populations and keeping harvest levels stable.
- Marine affairs