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Assessing the sustainability and equity of Alaska salmon fisheries through a well-being framework

Rachel Donkersloot, Coastal Cultures Research
Jessica C. Black, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Courtney Carothers, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Danielle Ringer, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Wilson Justin, Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium and Chistochina Enterprises
Patricia M. Clay, NOAA Fisheries
Melissa R. Poe, Washington Sea Grant, University of Washington
Erika R. Gavenus, University of British Columbia
William Voinot-Baron, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Carrie Stevens, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Mike Williams, Akiak Native Community and Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Kawerak, Inc.
Freddie Christiansen, Old Harbor Native Corporation
Sara Jo Breslow, University of Washington
Stephen J. Langdon, University of Alaska Anchorage
Jesse M. Coleman, University of Alaska Fairbanks
S. Jeanette Clark, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara


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Salmon are intrinsic to health and well-being in Alaska, and sit at the center of myriad social, cultural, and spiritual practices, norms, and values. These practices and values are essential to living and being well in many communities in Alaska, but often remain invisible and unaccounted for in management contexts. This paper stems from the collective efforts of a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural project team brought together as part of the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People (SASAP) knowledge synthesis project. In this paper, we assess the sustainability and equity of Alaska salmon systems through a well-being framework. Key objectives include (1) defining and conceptualizing well-being in the context of Alaska salmon systems; (2) developing and assessing well-being indicators for Alaska salmon systems; and (3) evaluating how well-being concepts are currently incorporated into Alaska salmon management and suggesting improvements. We draw on specific examples to evaluate the application of well-being indicators as a tool to more effectively measure and evaluate social considerations, and discuss how to better integrate well-being concepts into governance and management to improve data collection and decision making. As part of this effort, we discuss trends and inequities in Alaska fisheries and communities that impact well-being, and tensions between equality and equity in the context of Alaska salmon management.

Key words

Alaska Native; equity; fishing communities; governance; indicators; salmon; well-being

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087