Throughout this thesis, I use a multidisciplinary approach for understanding the sustainability of the culture, livelihoods, and ecosystems in the Cook Inlet and Kenai River salmon fisheries on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. In Chapter 1, I present a broad overview of the Cook Inlet region, its inhabitants, and the various stakeholder and user groups that access regional salmon fisheries. Chapter 1 also provides an overview of the methodology utilized in this research, as well as discuss the methods, the strengths, and weaknesses of the research as part of an evaluation of the study. In Chapter 2, I present an overview of how the Kenai River and Cook Inlet salmon fisheries are managed and regulated, including regulatory bodies and agencies and their mandated roles. Finally, the chapter concludes with a presentation of ethnographic data collected during interviews between summer of 2011 and spring of 2013. These data reveal the perspectives and attitudes of fishermen, and in terms of how they regard management, and about whether management decisions contribute to or detract from the ongoing sustainability of the regional fisheries and fish stocks. In Chapter 3, I examine some of the economically based arguments commonly made to support allocation rights between the several user groups that access the area fisheries. This chapter draws upon economic reports produced by advocacy groups and the State of Alaska, as well as utilizes a comparison of these reports by an economist from the University of Alaska Anchorage. This chapter again draws upon ethnographic research to understand perspectives of fishermen, illuminating how they interpret and develop their economic arguments for allocation. In Chapter 4, I present an ethnography detailing and describing attitudes and perspectives of fishermen as to how they perceive their personal identities relate to their fishing livelihoods. Finally, in Chapter 5 I conclude with an explanation and review of findings, as well as recommendations for future research and some personal thoughts. Throughout the thesis are pieces of my personal narrative to give the reader a more intimate understanding of this research.
Thesis (M.S.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2013
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