In 2014, Alaska's newly elected Governor Bill Walker assembled a Fisheries Transition Committee to assist his administration with addressing the major challenges affecting Alaska fisheries. In contrast to other regions in the United States and the globe, Alaska's fishery resources largely remain healthy. Yet the sustainability of its fishery systems is in question. The committee recognized “prioritizing and improving fishery access for Alaskans” as one of its key goals. This was the most recent call to arms in a state that provides more than 55% of U.S. seafood production but whose fishing communities are struggling to survive, suffering from the cumulative loss of local fisheries access.1
Rachel Donkersloot is the Working Waterfronts Program Director at the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. She was raised in Bristol Bay and is currently involved in research, education and policy work on fishing community sustainability, marine resource governance and rural youth issues in the Global North.
Courtney Carothers is an associate professor of fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is an environmental anthropologist currently researching how fishery systems are being remade by privatization processes and the total environment of change facing Arctic indigenous communities.