Alaska salmon fisheries and fishing communities are marked by rich and diverse connections to place, work, and environment.

Increasingly, they are also marked by inequities related to changes in fishery access and participation. Through cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue, our group worked to identify indicators that can help to track and sustain well-being of Alaska’s human-salmon systems.

Our Working Group paid special attention to well-being concepts inclusive of Indigenous people’s priorities and perspectives. Members included Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, practitioners, and knowledge bearers from diverse communities across Alaska, and other expertise representing a range of disciplines, organizations, and governmental bodies.

Our guiding questions

As a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural project team, our work is grounded in questions of:

  1. How do salmon-human connections contribute to various forms of well-being?

  2. What well-being measures can (and should) be applied to the governance of Alaska’s salmon systems?

  3. What information gaps currently exist?

  4. What does successful salmon management look like from a social, cultural, and community perspective?

Group Members

Team Members

Dr. Rachel Donkersloot

Coastal Cultures Research

Dr. Rachel Donkersloot holds a degree in Anthropology and brings more than a decade of research experience in rural fishing communities across the North Pacific and North Atlantic. Her research concentrates on fishing community sustainability, rural well-being, marine resource governance, and contemporary youth in the Global North. She currently lives in Palmer, Alaska, and manages her own research and consulting firm, Coastal Cultures Research.

Dr. Courtney Carothers

University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences

Dr. Courtney Carothers is an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research program partners with communities to study human-environment relationships, fisheries privatization processes, cultural values, equity, and well-being. Her research, teaching, and service works to advance goals of equity and decolonization in science, education, and resource management.

Dr. Jessica Black

(Gwich’in Athabascan)
University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development and Tribal Management

Dr. Jessica Black holds a doctorate in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She currently holds a faculty appointment at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development and Tribal Management. Her research focuses on the intersection of governance and well-being, especially as it pertains to management of natural resources such as salmon.

Danielle Ringer

University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences

Danielle Ringer holds a MA in Political Ecology of Fisheries and works as a Research Associate for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research focuses on holistic understandings of relationships between fisheries access and well-being within fishing communities, as well as processes to further incorporate human dimensions into fisheries resource management. Danielle grew up in Homer and now lives in Kodiak, Alaska.

Jesse Coleman

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Jesse Coleman is a PhD candidate in Fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She joined the SASAP project in 2017 as a research technician, specializing in data analysis and visualization for the R1 Sociocultural and R2 Wellbeing working groups. Jesse is interested in synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data to better understand the sociocultural, political, economic, and biological dynamics of human-environment systems.

Erika Gavenus

University of British Columbia: Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Erika Gavenus is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and she holds a MSc in Global Health and Environment. Her research considers the mechanisms through which coastal communities access local food resources, and how changes to access affect wellness. Erika grew up in Homer, Alaska and took part in the Lower and Upper Cook Inlet commercial salmon fisheries.


Caroline Brown

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Patricia Clay

NOAA Fisheries

Ann Fienup Riordon

Calista Elders Council

Sara Jo Breslow

Center for Creative Conservation

Steve Langdon

University of Alaska Anchorage emeritus

Melissa Poe

Washington Sea Grant/NOAA Affiliate

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian

Kawerak Incorporated

Andrea Akalleq Sanders

Alaska Native Policy Center

Wilson Justin

Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium and Chistochina Enterprises

Jim Fall


Jonathan Samuelson

Georgetown Tribe and Kuskokwim River Inter-tribal Fish Commission

Freddie Christiansen

Old Harbor Native Corporation

Mike Williams

Akiak Native Community and Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

William Voinot-Baron

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Carrie Stevens

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Other Links of Interest

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