Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Department

Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Seth Macinko

Abstract

This thesis examines the implications of global warming for fisheries management in the Arctic waters off Alaska. In particular, the purpose of this thesis is to ascertain the current level of awareness, concern, and planning by physical scientists, social scientists, and federal and state resource managers for a potential future scenario that could develop in Alaska if: 1) warming ocean temperatures cause an expansion or a shift in the ranges of commercial fish species; and 2) the retreat of sea ice due to climate change allows commercial fishing fleets to expand into new areas such as the Chukchi Sea. Commercial fishing in this Sea could be problematic because at the current time, there are no federal Fishery Management Plans for species residing in the Chukchi Sea. Fishery managers in Alaska do not appear to be planning for future fisheries management in the Chukchi Sea, even though the scientific community has stated that the Arctic could soon become ice-free, with distributional shifts in species likely. The data used in this thesis research were collected from a series of interviews to determine: 1) if planning should be done to prepare for new commercial fisheries development in the Chukchi Sea; 2) what future management would look like in the Chukchi Sea; and 3) how Chukchi Sea Natives could be both affected by and involved in the management of new fish stocks. Results show that fishery managers would not plan for fishery shifts or practice proactive fisheries management. Results also show that the Community Development Quota program could be used to involve Alaska Natives in making management decisions. However, co-management of fishery resources may be a better option in the long run.

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