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The geography of salmon fishing conflicts: the case of Noyes Island Logan, Roderick MacKenzie

Abstract

This study examines the complex problems associated with the allocation and management of mobile salmon resources passing through politically partitioned land and sea space in southeastern Alaska and northern British Columbia. While the salmon fishing industry was found to be relatively important at the local level, it is suggested that the salmon of Canadian origin removed off Noyes Island "by Alaskan fishermen are not of critical importance to the economies of either Alaska or British Columbia when considered as a whole. Therefore, it is concluded that the Noyes Island conflict should not be allowed to jeopardize the salmon conservation programs of Canada and the United States by provoking a de facto abrogation of a mutually advantageous treaty designed to prevent the massive oceanic capture of salmon. From this case study in political geography it was determined that salmon fishing conflicts can best be understood by examining: (1) The peculiar nature of the salmon resource. (2) The state of knowledge concerning its origins and movements and the spatial implications of these movements. (3) The evolution of opposing national fisheries, (4) Interrelated political considerations. It was also found that salmon fishing conflicts could be classified into two categories based upon quantitative and ideological differences. Finally, a tentative geographic model was constructed that could serve as the basis for organizing future enquiry into salmon fishing disputes by clearly illustrating the spatial problems common to such conflicts. The model particularly emphasizes the lack of congruency between biotic and political units and the effects this has on competing, nationally organized exploitation of the salmon resource.

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