Pacific Salmon: Ecology and Management of Western Alaska’s Populations

Ecology and Management of Western Alaska Pacific Salmon: Introduction to the Proceedings

Charles C. Krueger, Christian E. Zimmerman, and Joseph J. Spaeder


Abstract.—The Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region encompasses over 40% of the State of Alaska. The region includes the watersheds of Norton Sound up to and including the village of Shishmaref, the Yukon River watershed within Alaska and Canada, and the Kuskokwim River watershed (including the coastal watersheds north of Cape Newenham), plus the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean marine ecosystems (see frontispiece map). Dramatic declines in salmon runs to the AYK region from 1997 to 2001 created havoc within the subsistence culture of rural Alaskan communities and left fishery managers and scientists puzzled over the causes for the declines, unsure of best management measures for the future. Since 2003, salmon stocks across the region have fluctuated widely. The Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYK SSI) is an innovative partnership between public and private institutions which provides a forum for regional organizations and state and federal agencies to cooperatively identify and address salmon research and restoration needs. The AYK SSI provided the means to interconnect state, federal, and Alaska Native organizations to collaboratively participate in the symposium, and to fund the symposium and this book. The symposium and this text seeks to describe the management of salmon fisheries in the AYK region, to communicate what is known and what needs to be known about ecological processes that cause change in salmon populations; and to discuss the effects on rural communities caused by variability in abundance of salmon. This book provides a single reference text for the region that serves as an access point to information that formerly resided in a variety of storage media—from file drawers to web sites to the primary literature—and one that links information across the freshwater and marine ecosystems of the region. Our hope is that the availability of this information would encourage future students, managers, and researchers to focus their interests on AYK salmon, and promote the long-term sustainability of Alaska’s salmon producing ecosystems.