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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Managing by the numbers? : examining barriers to harvest assessment in a Southeast Alaska subsistence salmon fishery Smith, Morgen Elizabeth

Abstract

This thesis identifies and discusses a variety of historical, economic, and regulatory barriers to the collection of harvest data for a subsistence salmon fishery on Southeast Alaska's Chilkat River. The research on which this paper is based also elicited suggestions for improving participation in and accuracy of future harvest assessment efforts. Research was conducted using standard social science interview methodology, participant observation, and reviews of historical and regulatory documents. Barriers identified include a general dissonance between harvesters and management bodies in relation to the valuation and documentation of fisheries resources, as well as specific regulations regarding gear types, seasonality, area, species, and allocation of harvest that contradict customary and traditional harvest practices. These factors contribute to low levels of communication and trust between user groups and management bodies, resulting in non-participation in harvest assessment efforts among user groups. Conventional management approaches, legal mandate, and a shifting political climate are presented as factors contributing to the motivation for this type of research intended to better document characteristics of subsistence harvest. Ultimately, this thesis argues that harvest assessment would be improved through a more inclusive cooperative management effort. ii

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