IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Food Security and Conservation of Yukon River Salmon: Are We Asking Too Much of the Yukon River?

Listed author(s):
  • Philip A Loring


    (Center for Cross Cultural Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 756730, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
    Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755910, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA)

  • Craig Gerlach


    (Center for Cross Cultural Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 756730, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
    Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 755910, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
    Center for Alaska Native Health Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks, P.O. Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA)

Registered author(s):

    By the terms set by international agreements for the conservation of Yukon River salmon, 2009 was a management success. It was a devastating year for many of the Alaska Native communities along the Yukon River, however, especially in up-river communities, where subsistence fishing was closed in order to meet international conservation goals for Chinook salmon. By the end of summer, the smokehouses and freezers of many Alaska Native families remained empty, and Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell petitioned the US Federal Government to declare a fisheries disaster. This paper reviews the social and ecological dimensions of salmon management in 2009 in an effort to reconcile these differing views regarding success, and the apparently-competing goals of salmon conservation and food security. We report local observations of changes in the Chinook salmon fishery, as well as local descriptions of the impacts of fishing closures on the food system. Three categories of concern emerge from our interviews with rural Alaskan participants in the fishery and with federal and state agency managers: social and ecological impacts of closures; concerns regarding changes to spawning grounds; and a lack of confidence in current management methods and technologies. We show how a breakdown in observation of the Yukon River system undermines effective adaptive management and discuss how sector-based, species-by-species management undermines a goal of food security and contributes to the differential distribution of impacts for communities down and up river. We conclude with a discussion of the merits of a food system and ecosystem-based approach to management, and note existing jurisdictional and paradigmatic challenges to the implementation of such an approach in Alaska.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 9 (September)
    Pages: 1-23

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:9:p:2965-2987:d:9599
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:9:p:2965-2987:d:9599. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.