Western Alaska Salmon Revolt


In June of 2012, more than 25 Alaska native residents along the Kuskokwim River were cited for fishing illegally for Chinook salmon. At least 30 nets and more than 1,000 pounds of fish were seized by state and federal officials, and in some cases fishermens’ nets were cut. These conflicts occurred after Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) regional managers extended a closure of the Kuskokwim River subsistence fishery in an attempt to allow enough Chinook upstream to spawn, following multiple years of poor returns of Chinook salmon. This case study will develop and explore a socio-environmental model for the Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon fishery, with students working from the point of view of a newly graduated, newly hired fishery biologist responsible for managing the salmon fishery on the Kuskokwim River. Students will be asked to consider what they need to know, in addition to strictly biological information, in order to do their job well.

Megan V. McPhee