Policy, economic, and environmental pressures can influence fishing behavior and fishers’ long-term strategies regarding participation in a fishery. Maintaining a diverse portfolio of fishing strategies may, in turn, act as a buffer against future changes. Here, I will present two studies that examined long-term changes in fishing portfolios of recreational and commercial fishers in Alaska. In one study, we described patterns of resource use by recreational charter operators to evaluate whether the portfolio of targeted species has shifted over a period of marked regulatory and environmental change. From interviews with 52 charter captains, we found that fishing regulations set for a primary target species (Pacific halibut) led to greater retention of historically less-preferred species and a diversification of the species portfolio targeted on charter trips since the early 2000s. In a second study, we examined historical patterns and drivers of diversification in Alaskan commercial fisheries, including shifts in the portfolio of harvested species and permit types used by fishers. Using four case studies, we described fishery- and community-level responses to multiple drivers, including species declines, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, market factors, limited entry, and rationalization. Overall, we found evidence for reduced participation and increasing specialization in Alaskan commercial fisheries.
Anne Beaudreau is an associate professor and PI of the Coastal Fisheries Ecology Lab at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Anne and her students conduct research on the ecology and human dimensions of fisheries in the northeast Pacific, drawing approaches and perspectives from multiple disciplines, including fisheries science, ecology, and anthropology. Anne teaches courses in science communication and fisheries ecology and conservation. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and completed her postdoctoral work at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a fishery analyst at the New England Fishery Management Council.
Coastal Fisheries Ecology Lab: www.annebeaudreau.com