• Analyzing factors affecting Alaska's salmon permit values: evidence from Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits

      Wood, Mackenzie D.; Baek, Jungho; Little, Joseph; Greenberg, Joshua (2017-05)
      The effects of total earnings, total costs and mining exploration on permit prices in Alaska are investigated using an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach to cointegration. I take specific account of regional and gear specific salmon fisheries -- that is, Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits -- in our modelling. I find that there is a stable long-run relationship among permit prices, total earnings, and total costs. It is also found that, in both the short- and long-run, total earnings have a positive and significant relationship with permit prices, while total costs have a negative and significant relationship. Although the mining exploration in the region has a negative and significant effect on permit prices in the short-run, the effect does not seem to last in the long-run.
    • Changes in the value of the Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine limited entry permits following two permit buy back programs

      Shriver, Jennifer Christine (2014-12)
      The Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine fishery (S01A) is an Alaska state waters limited entry fishery. When initially limited by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission in 1975, 419 permanent permits were issued. As salmon prices dropped in the late 1990s, current and expected future revenues also dropped leading to a decline in the market value of permit. This led permitees to look at different ways to improve their economic position. Reduction of permit numbers through the buyback and permanent retirement of some permits emerged as a preferred option for the S01A fishery; it was motivated as the best means to improve economic conditions in the fishery. After a very long road of regulatory changes at the state and federal level, 35 permits were bought and retired in 2008 using funds provided under a federal grant. A second buyback in 2012, based on a federally backed fishery reduction loan led to the retirement of 65 additional permits. Basic economic principles suggest that resulting decrease in supply of limited entry permits would lead to an increase in the market value of remaining permits. An important policy question is: whether the increased value to permitees is sufficient to offset the cost to taxpayers of financing the buyback. However, conducting that cost-benefit assessment is made difficult because of unrelated but concomitant changes in exvessel prices and catch volumes. During the same time that permits were being removed through the buyback, the exvessel value of salmon increased as did the volume of Southeast Alaska salmon harvests, per-vessel average exvessel gross earnings, and the market value of S01A permits. Econometric analyses based on Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) time series data on S01A permit values, estimated gross earnings, and salmon prices indicate that the buybacks led to statistically significant increases in the asset value of S01A LEPs. In light of the program's stated goals, the buyback was a qualified success in increasing the asset value of S01A permits and removing latent fishing capacity from returning to the fishery as exvessel prices increased. The buyback did not change the fundamental conditions that precondition the Alaska salmon LEP program to systematic vulnerabilities inherent in a management system that does not counter the pernicious race for fish motivations of participants.
    • Equitable co-management on the Kuskokwim River

      McDevitt, Chris; Anahita, Sine; Ehrlander, Mary; Racina, Kris (2018-08)
      A legally empowered equitable co-management system of the Kuskokwim River salmon fishery between subsistence users and state and federal managers does not exist. Despite federal legislation Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (Section 8) calling for a "meaningful role" for subsistence users in managing fish and game on federal lands, some rural subsistence users believe that they have yet to assume a "meaningful role" in the policy-making process. The absolute maximum capacity that subsistence users can fulfill in terms of participating in the management of the resources they depend on comes in the form of one of many advisory boards. Ultimately, management regimes and policymakers do not have to consider advisory council member recommendations, suggestions and/or group proposals. On the Kuskokwim River, the decline of king salmon, perceived mismanagement, general mistrust of management agencies, inter-river conflict, and lack of authority and accountability felt by local users, has prompted some subsistence salmon fishermen to press for a stronger role in salmon management. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fish Commission (KRITFC) have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pertaining to the management of the fishery. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) has not entered into negotiations with the KRITFC and United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding management. This thesis explores the history of the Kuskokwim salmon fishery and options available to Alaska Native subsistence salmon users who seek an equitable role in managing the fishery.
    • Sea change, know fish: catching the tales of fish and men in Cordova, Alaska

      Springer, Emilie S.; Schneider, William; Criddle, Keith; Farmer, Daryl; Plattet, Patrick; Shoaps, Robin (2019-08)
      Cordova, Alaska is a coastal community in Southcentral Alaska with an intricate history in commercial fishing, primarily for the Copper River sockeye salmon industry, which extends historically to pre-statehood. This dissertation collects personal narratives as a method to express cultural features of community identity and the role salmon has played in shaping identity, livelihood, and lifestyle in Cordova, Alaska. Research material is based on oral history interviews from which I construct written character portraits to depict aspects of resident life in this fishing community and from others who use the community to access summer salmon resources of the Copper River. Portraits were performed and presented in public venues to obtain casual feedback from and review by community members from Cordova and other participants in the Prince William Sound drift fishery. The portraits and public commentary post-performance or from community readers serve as one basis for analysis and lead to my conclusions about life in this community and, on a larger scale, cultural dimensions common within other communities (either geographic or occupational). Public performances offer a communication tool that provides a method to share differences within the industry without encountering explicit controversy over challenging industry transitions. Although the tool of storytelling does not typically receive significant media or policy attention, I find it very effective in understanding and mediating conflict across different groups of people, especially when the main theme of conflict, sustainability and access to the fishery resource, is a mutual cultural feature of interest to diverse participant groups. Additionally, public creative performances offer a venue of communication primarily designed for entertainment and as a result, the audience interaction with storytellers occurs more casually and perhaps more genuinely than it does in academic conferences or policy meeting venues. Personal stories related to the iconic feature of salmon with mutual significance in state and federal fisheries of the North Pacific are a valuable, intimate source of local and traditional knowledge. The opportunity to put meaningful and commonly shared emphasis on the fish as an economic and cultural resource and not on a particular stakeholder group may help lead to improved communications in a field that tends to illicit conflict in consideration of access to harvest rights.