SASAP Round 1

AFS SASAP Economics

SASAP Working Groups compile and analyze available data and information to provide new insights into Alaska’s salmon systems and their relationships with salmon people through a collaborative, science-based and adaptive assessment process. Projects undertaken are implemented in two overlapping rounds of research, Round 1 and Round 2.

Round 1 Three synthesis Working Groups are conducting a broad scale, cross-cutting analysis of available information to provide a contemporary understanding of the state of knowledge of Alaska’s salmon and the people who rely on salmon.

We have attempted to strike a balance between breadth and depth of the analysis by focusing our work at the scale of 11 major regions: Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound (including Copper River), Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Chignik, Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands, Kuskokwim, Yukon, Norton Sound & Kotzebue, and Arctic coastal areas.

Group 1: Bio-physical State of Knowledge of Salmon Distribution & Habitat

Lead: Peter Westley, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Co-Lead: Dan Rinella, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Team Members: Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission; Matt Sloat, Wild Salmon Center; Rebecca Shaftel, University of Alaska Anchorage; Madeline Jovanovich, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Leslie Jones, University of Alaska Anchorage

Advisors: Rich Brenner, Alaska Department of Fish & Game; Bert Lewis, Alaska Department of Fish & Game; Jennifer Shriver, Alaska Department of Fish & Game


The overarching aim is to produce a unifying source of information that provides users with the knowledge that there is not a single unifying ‘state of Alaska salmon’ but rather that the state of salmon differs among regions. Despite differences and idiosyncrasies, there are some similarities among regions which we will strive to highlight. To meet this goal, data will be summarized on:

  • Escapement and harvest by species (to show that different species dominate different areas and work with other groups to show harvest by user/cultural groups)
  • The proportion of catch that is produced by wild vs. hatchery stocks (by species, with a focus on PWS and SE regions for pinks and chum, respectively)
  • The amount of documented anadromous waters in each region (number of streams and total area)
  • The condition of freshwater habitat by region (e.g. extent of land cover, presence of invasive species, extent and distribution of culverts, patterns of current and legacy timber harvests)
  • General trends in regional air and temperature precipitation
  • General marine distribution of stocks (to extent knowable from UW High Seas Salmon data and other sources such as pollock bycatch)
  • Changes in age and size structure of stocks within and among regions
  • Known challenges in regions (e.g. urbanization and spread of invasive species in Mat-Su, transboundary mining issues in SE, large-scale hydro projects proposed on Canadian Yukon)

Group 2: Sociocultural and Economic Dimensions of Salmon Systems

Lead: Courtney Carothers, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Co-Lead Jessica Black, University of Alaska Fairbanks Indigenous Studies, Tribal Management; Co-Lead Tobias Schworer, University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research

Member: Danielle Ringer, University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

Advisors: Steve Langdon, University of Alaska Anchorage emeritus; Caroline Brown, Alaska Department of Fish & GameBen Stevens, Yukon River Intertribal Fish Commission; Rachel Donkersloot, Alaska Marine Conservation Council; Gunnar Knapp, University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research; Jim Fall, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Liza Mack, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Indigenous Studies; Alex Whiting, Native Village of Kotzebue; Rob Sanderson Jr., Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Kawerak; Patricia M. Clay, National Marine Fisheries Service


Alaska’s largely intact wild salmon ecosystems support a wide range of cultural, social and economic values for people. Salmon are a cultural keystone species for many of the Indigenous cultures in Alaska. Salmon are vital as a subsistence resource contributing to the physical, social, cultural, spiritual, psychological, and emotional well-being of people in communities across the state. Salmon also form the backbone of the commercial fishing economy for the state and many of its regions. Salmon are highly valued for resident and tourist anglers, and contribute to local food procurement and recreation for many urban Alaskan families. Salmon play integral and diverse roles in the society, cultures, and economies of Alaska, and yet human alteration of salmon systems (from habitat modification to exclusionary resource management) threatens the sustainability of these salmon-human systems.

In this state of knowledge synthesis of the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of salmon systems in Alaska, we are exploring four guiding topics:

  • Social and cultural values of salmon: These data are primarily contained in manuscripts, journal articles, dissertations, and reports.
  • Use and non-use values of salmon and how these are manifested among different stakeholders (commercial, recreational, subsistence, personal use): Information will focus on a coarse spatial distribution and relative valuation of salmon watersheds that support sport, commercial, and subsistence salmon fisheries.
  • Trends in human use of salmon: Data compiled from existing datasets for commercial, subsistence, and sport fishing for salmon will be made available from various sources housed within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC), Alaska Department of Revenue (DOR) and other institutions. The data will be divided into commercial participation, harvest and processing; subsistence harvest; recreational harvest; and personal use harvest.
  • Key threats to salmon-dependent communities: To understand key threats, we are both reviewing relevant literature and data, and generating a list of stakeholder and community identified and discussed threats.

Group 3: Governance and Subsistence

Lead: Steve LangdonUniversity of Alaska Anchorage emeritus; Co-Lead: Taylor BrelsfordUniversity of Alaska AnchorageCo-Lead: James FallAlaska Department of Fish & Game, Subsistence Division

Team Members: Wilson Justin, Ahtna tribal member; Michael Williams, Akiak tribal elder; Nicole Kimball, former North Pacific Management Council and Alaska Department of Fish & Game; Meagan Krupa, University of Alaska Anchorage; Molly Cunfer (McCarthy), University of Alaska Anchorage

Additional stakeholders will be identified to participate in roundtable discussions.


The group is focusing on examining the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in Alaska’s salmon system and how they lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions.

Research conducted under this component covers two topics:

  • The governance of salmon utilization and conservation will be described through time beginning with indigenous patterns at contact, continuing through the Russian period and  US territorial period to the current situation of State and Federal shared jurisdiction. For each period, the basic framework of laws, institutions, processes and procedures will be described and discussed. Documents to be accessed include Constitution, key laws and court decisions, Board of Fish policies, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game policies (ADFG).
  • Salmon subsistence will be described including traditional indigenous patterns of use, legal definition (state and federal), and the history of governance under state and federal laws.

Information on harvest levels and patterns of utilization by Alaska regions over the past 20 years will be compiled.  Documents and statistical records based on fish calendars and interviews constructed by ADFG Subsistence Division personnel will be accessed, reviewed and synthesized. Key stakeholders involved in these topics will be interviewed. Special attention will be paid to traditional beliefs concerning spiritual relations with salmon and the emergence of new tribal-federal management initiatives.

Stakeholders will have opportunities to engage in public meetings and inform workshops throughout the SASAP project.