Stewarding the salmosphere : exploring perceptions of the values and vulnerabilities of the Alaskan salmon enhancement program
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In response to declining wild stocks and increasing fishing pressures, global hatchery production of all five species of Pacific salmon has increased. Regulations in Alaska state that hatcheries must contribute to common property fisheries while avoiding significant negative impacts on wild stocks. This thesis explores the broader question of how the diverse perceptions and attitudes of key actors, regarding the social and ecological impacts of Alaskan salmon hatcheries, influence stewardship of the resource. Given the variable nature of wild returns and the stable level of hatchery production, there are benefits and concerns of hatchery-wild interactions. Hatcheries are portrayed and debated based on the benefits they provide and the scientific and economic concerns that stakeholders have about them. These risks and benefits are aired in an ongoing public media debate. Research findings revealed that, though individuals hold various views about the merit and acceptability of salmon hatcheries, there is a unanimous desire for further research and prioritization of natural stocks. Findings also suggested that a discussion of trade-offs is necessary to address risks and benefits aired in an ongoing public media debate, and the potential emergence of a socialecological trap. This investigation contributes to a growing body of research and to a broader understanding of the social dynamics involved in decision-making about hatchery management of Pacific salmon hatcheries in Alaska.