Moving beyond MSY: making Alaska’s salmon fisheries socially and economically sustainable

Ray Hilborn
UW School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences
November 3, 2004

Many of Alaska’s salmon fisheries are models of biological success, with management structures that have maintained biomass, stock diversity and biological yield. At the same time the fisheries face severe challenges due to low price for the product, and the fisheries have been declared formal “economic” disasters by state and federal agencies in recent years. From many perspectives these fisheries are in crisis. I explore how the governance system for Alaskan salmon has led to biological success and economic failure. I review a range of alternative governance structures that are in place or being considered that might provide for social and economic sustainability. I also demonstrate that the basic biological principal that has guided management, Maximum Sustainable Yield, is a serious impediment to social and economic sustainability.

Posted in Fisheries Think Tank.

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