The Skeena Watershed Partnership: Learning from Success and Failure in Salmon Management
Abstract.—Watersheds in the Pacific Northwest have been the site of conflicts over access to salmon by commercial, aboriginal, and recreational groups, as well as conflicts among salmon users and other users over how to protect or restore salmon habitat, maintain a sustainable harvest rate, and define research priorities. Watershed and salmon users have sometimes chosen to form partnerships to solve common problems, making the conservation or sustainable management of salmon their central objective. Through examining a British Columbia example which illustrates principles of successful collaborative partnerships, as well as some failures to apply these principles, I consider what aspects of the Canadian experience might contain instructive precautionary lessons relevant to the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim area. Five critical key conditions identified from this examination needed for successful partnerships include: (1) clarification of the role of government as a sponsor (funder) but not a convenor of the partnership, (2) a Memorandum of Understanding clearly spelling out the goals, the rights and duties devolved to partnership bodies, and government commitment not to violate them, (3) fishermen involvement in, and oversight of, all aspects of citizen science, including data collection, analysis of data, creation of fishing plans, monitoring and enforcement of adherence to the fishing plans, research, agenda setting, and (5) sufficient time for parties to develop trust in the process and other parties.