Publication Date: 
September 2013
In Press

Philip A. Loring , Hannah L. Harrison & S. Craig Gerlach , Society & Natural Resources (2013): Local Perceptions of the Sustainability of Alaska’s Highly Contested Cook Inlet Salmon Fisheries, Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal
Using a mixed set of ethnographic methods including interviews and a structured survey, we evaluate local perceptions about the sustainability of salmon fisheries among fishers of the Cook Inlet region of Alaska. A majority of residents report participating in these fisheries, but we find significant disagreement about their sustainability. Household income and the types of fishing practiced both influence people’s responses, and many implicated specific user groups for overharvesting and=or for receiving unfair catch allocations. Drawing on the theoretical areas of information theory and political ecology, we argue that these findings reveal a complex interplay among the practical, social, and political aspects of how local resource users, or ‘‘local experts,’’ develop and communicate their assessments of ecological conditions in a context of conflict. We conclude with notes on future research as it relates to the successful design of local-management and co-management solutions, especially in settings where resources are contested by stakeholders.