• Using fishers' knowledge to explore spatial fishing patterns, perceptions of regulations, and environmental change in Alaska

      Chan, Maggie; Beaudreau, Anne; Criddle, Keith; Loring, Philip; Vander Naald, Brian (2018-08)
      In this dissertation, an interdisciplinary approach was used to examine fisher knowledge from recreational charter and subsistence fishers targeting Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) in Alaska. The first chapter identified biological, regulatory, social, and economic drivers of spatial fishing patterns by charter operators in two communities in Alaska. In Homer, the most frequently cited reasons for changes in the location and/or extent of fishing were changes in trip type and the price of fuel, while in Sitka, the most frequently cited reasons for spatial shifts were changes to Pacific halibut regulations and gaining experience or exploring new locations. The second chapter examined perceptions of charter operators to traditional and novel recreational fishery management tools. Results highlighted that controls on individual harvest can be perceived to have unintended consequences for charter businesses, such as effects on profitability and distance traveled. The third chapter explored variability in local ecological knowledge (LEK) of fish abundance and body size trends among charter operators and subsistence harvesters. Results suggested that peoples' perceptions of fish abundance and body size can be affected by attributes of their fishing experience and highlighted the importance of including people with different types of experience in the environment when using LEK to document environmental changes. Together, these chapters contribute to an improved understanding of the human dimensions of small-scale fisheries in Alaska, including perceptions of fishers regarding the management system and shifts in fishing behavior in response to environmental, socioeconomic, and regulatory change. Additionally, this project documented and evaluated variation in local ecological knowledge to contribute new information on data-limited marine fish species in Alaska.