• Alaska Salmon Management Economic, Social, Political Complexity

      Ulmer, Fran (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      Alaska’s seafood industry is world-scale. The value of fish harvests was about $900 million in 2001. About $1.3 billion in value was added in fish processing. The seafood industry is particularly important for rural Alaska. Fishing is the most important source of income, taxes, infrastructure and utilities for coastal communities--and an important part of Alaska culture. However, many fishermen and the majority of fish processing workers are non-residents, and most of the large companies in the seafood industry are based outside Alaska. Alaska salmon are harvested in 27 different limited entry fisheries.These fisheries differ widely in gear type, species harvested, volume harvested, values of harvest, number of permit holders, average earnings and average permit value—and in how well or poorly the management system is working. This presentation explores aspects of Alaska's history, constitution, statutes, and state regulatory bodies in the management system (state water jurisdiction). Presentation to UAA Environmental Economics and Policy Class
    • Challenges in Restructuring Alaska's Salmon Fisheries

      Ulmer, Fran; Knapp, Gunnar (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      Over the past fifteen years, Alaska’s salmon industry has experienced dramatic losses in income, market share, permit and boat values, and tax revenues to communities and the state. The economic crisis in the salmon industry—driven by competition from farmed salmon and other factors—has prompted numerous task forces and summits to call for improved quality, new products, better marketing, and other measures to enable Alaska’s salmon industry to compete more effectively in world salmon markets. However, there has been relatively little discussion of restructuring Alaska’s salmon fisheries....In this paper, we argue that public debate and action on restructuring have been limited by several factors: the complexity and controversial nature of restructuring, the absence of leadership on this issue from either the industry or government, and the ambiguity of responsibility and authority within state government for the economic success of Alaska’s fisheries. The Board of Fisheries and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have a clear mandate to conserve Alaska’s salmon and authority to enact regulations necessary to achieve that objective. But that mandate and authority do not extend to the more complex and difficult objective of managing Alaska’s salmon resources for the “maximum benefit” of Alaskans, as the Alaska Constitution requires. Editor’s Note (September 2005): Fran Ulmer and Gunnar Knapp wrote this paper in November 2004. Near the end of the paper, they discuss the Chignik salmon cooperative and the then-pending Alaska Supreme Court decision about whether the Board of Fisheries had the authority to issue an allocation to the co-op. Page 34 says, “if the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the Superior Court [that the Board did have this authority], it will have the effect of extending the extent to which the board has clear authority to restructure fisheries for economic purposes.” Since the paper was written, there have been several court decisions affecting the status of the Chignik fishing cooperative. The fundamental legal issues at stake relate to the board’s authority and the legislature’s intent in the Limited Entry Act. As of fall 2005, the future of the co-op was uncertain, pending a final ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court. This continuing legal battle reinforces a central point of the paper: that absence of clear authority to make changes in fishery management represents an important obstacle to restructuring. The authors have also written a more recent short paper on restructuring, “Changing Alaska’s Salmon Harvesting System: What Are the Challenges?” in Understanding Alaska, Research Summary No. 5, September 2005.
    • The Meaning of Deepwater Horizon for Alaska: What We Must Learn

      Ulmer, Fran (University of Alaska Anchorage. Bookstore, 2012-04-18)
      Many of us are familiar with Fran Ulmer's service in Alaska--being a mayor, legislator, two terms as Lieutenant Governor, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research, UAA Chancellor, and currently UAA's Arctic Research Scholar. Fran Ulmer also served as a member of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill and Offshore Drilling, and is the chairperson of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and co-founder of Oil Spill Commission Action.
    • Polar Politics: The Marriage of Scientists, Stakeholders and Policymakers, a presentation

      Ulmer, Fran (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      The Arctic is a complex integrated system of natural, physical and social domains inextricably connected to the larger global system. Our goal is to develop partnerships and innovations to transcend disciplinary, geographical, political and mission-related boundaries. This is important for many reasons, including the complexity of the issues, scarce resources, agency budget constraints, and rapidly changing systems. This presentation explores key questions including How can scientists better communicate their research so stakeholders and policymakers understand it? How can we make it easier (and more desirable) for policymakers and stakeholders to use that research to improve decisions? How can we make science that is relevant to policymakers and stakeholders more interesting to the scientific establishment ?
    • Salmon Restructuring: Changing Alaska's Salmon Harvesting System: What are the challenges?

      Knapp, Gunnar; Ulmer, Fran (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      The Chignik fishing co-op is a cautionary tale about why restructuring in Alaska’s salmon fisheries is so hard and so controversial—and why it’s unlikely to happen until Alaskans clarify their goals for the fisheries and establish ways to achieve those goals. It won’t be easy to make changes in Alaska’s salmon harvesting system. Not everyone will benefit; some people could end up worse off. But the costs of doing nothing are also high. Thousands of Alaskans have already seen severe losses in fishing income and in boat and permit values, and many have had to quit fishing for salmon. Salmon is no longer Alaska’s dominant resource industry. But it remains a mainstay of many communities, and if the industry is to become and remain profitable, we need to face—and find ways of addressing—the complex, difficult issue of restructuring. This summary is based upon a longer paper by the same authors, "Challenges in Restructuring Alaska’s Salmon Fisheries" (2004).