Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
Shawn Johnson, Shoren Brown
policy, salmon, hatchery, hatcheries, Alaska, evaluation
University of Montana
Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy
Using an adapted Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) - Evaluation, this study analyzes policy regulating Alaska salmon hatcheries to evaluate its effectiveness at sustaining wild salmon runs.When Alaska became a state in 1959, its salmon industry was suffering from years of overfishing. Runs were at an all-time low, prompting constitutional drafters to mandate management of salmon via the sustained yield principle. The hatchery system that operates today and is responsible for a third of the commercial catch each year was put in place in the 1970s to help supplement depressed salmon runs. The effects of hatchery salmon on wild salmon populations are escapement inflation from strays, interbreeding of strays and wild salmon, genetic introgression and loss of fitness of hatchery-wild offspring, the potential spread of disease, and competition for food. Policy was created to mitigate these risks and ensure a sustained wild Alaska salmon population. This policy analysis follows the steps of a traditional ERA– planning process, problem formulation, analysis, and risk characterization–and adapts it to evaluate the effectiveness of current policy regulating Alaska salmon hatcheries. Overall, the policy in place does an effective job at minimizing risk and ensuring sustained runs of wild salmon, however, there are critical gaps in enforcement and regulation, the timeliness of the genetic policy, research on straying and other effects of hatchery salmon, and the involvement of stakeholders in the decision-making process.
Eller, Jessica, "Policy Analysis: Alaska Salmon Hatcheries" (2018). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11231.
© Copyright 2018 Jessica Eller