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

Introduction to New Challenges, New Approaches

Charles C. Krueger and Christian E. Zimmerman


This last section of the symposium volume represents a diverse set of perspectives representing a range of opinions from a broad group of authors (e.g., McPhee et al. 2009, this volume) to a single author’s (e.g., Hanna 2009, this volume). Considerable effort was put forward during the last day of the symposium to interconnect participants in discussion groups focused on topics ranging from linkages between marine and freshwater systems (Moss et al. 2009, this volume) to management and research approaches (Cubitt et al. 2009, this volume; McPhee et al. 2009, this volume). Some papers in this section represent those discussions. This set of papers identifies a number of important issues that will need to continue to be addressed in future AYK management including the use of traditional ecological knowledge, potential effects of selective forces in fishing, climate variation, and the effects of ocean dynamics on salmon growth, survival, and movement.

Social issues were also discussed and are of equal importance to biophysical variables to consider in future salmon management of the AYK region. These issues include commercial versus recreational versus subsistence fishers; downstream versus upstream fishers; state versus federal management of subsistence fisheries; and data sharing among the scientific, management, and stakeholder communities. The conservation of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) is a shared value among all participants along with the belief that sustainable salmon yields will ensure sustainable rural communities in the region. This common value among all the participants provides a starting point for resolution of conflicts.

A call is made within several of the papers to consider a more holistic, ecosystem-based management of salmon stocks over their entire life history. All types of information should be connected or integrated over the salmon life cycle to be able to understand the influences of regional ocean and climate conditions. The first step to accomplishing this task is to provide opportunities to increase interaction between freshwater and ocean researchers and managers.