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Title: Cultivating salmon : human-fish relations in Bethel, Alaska
Author: Schiefer, Paula Elise
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 2818
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis focuses on the ways in which people cultivate relations with salmon along the Kuskokwim River in Southwest Alaska. It examines conservation narratives which develop around a decreasing salmon population and analyses the different ascriptions of agency which are attributed to them. This work places human-animal relationships at the centre between State salmon conservation strategies and Yup'ik subsistence fishing, in particular after intensified conservation efforts and restrictions of king salmon harvest in the area. I argue that both subsistence harvesting and salmon management establish ways of knowing these animals, relations of care, and perceptions of environmental shifts, but emerge as incommensurable in moments of crisis. Combined with an understanding of the post-colonial structures in which salmon management is embedded, the research analyses how the ontological tensions of relations between people and fish are too strong to be mediated in co-management approaches and even court hearings. Yet, although conflicting, these relations co-exist most of the time. To understand how these relations are maintained, negotiated, and perpetuated, this thesis gives detailed ethnographic analyses of settings in which they take place. This includes management offices, fishing boats, fish camps, and weirs, and furthermore includes tools like nets and knives which help to understand the role of salmon in social lives in Bethel and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. My work tells stories in which salmon cannot be mastered or controlled but become an indicator for the well-being of human relationships with each other, salmon, and their shared environment.
Supervisor: Anderson, David G. ; Wishart, Robert P. Sponsor: ERC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Salmon ; Fishing ; Bethel (Alaska)