Skip to main content


Impacts of closing salmon subsistence fishery

Research Achievements

Impacts of closing salmon subsistence fishery

IGERT trainee Philip Loring and co-PI Craig Gerlach documented the social-ecological impacts of closing the salmon subsistence fishery on the Yukon River in 2009. The closure was intended to fulfill U.S. treaty obligations to allow a treaty-specified number of salmon to move through Alaska into Canada. As a consequence, rural indigenous communities were not allowed to harvest salmon, which are their primary subsistence food. It also eliminated commercial fishing, which is an important income source in the lower Yukon River. The fish closure was implemented in a way that did not respect the cultural and nutritional needs of local residents and did not provide them with alternatives to meet their minimal food needs for the year. The research documented the policies that led to the crisis, the institutional properties of agencies and communities that led to conflict over the issue, and explored potential solutions, if this problem were to arise again in the future.