Pacific Salmon are anadromous fish that cross state and international boundaries in their oceanic migrations. Fish spawned in the rivers of one jurisdiction are vulnerable to harvest in other jurisdictions. The rocky history of attempts by the United States and Canada to cooperatively manage their respective salmon harvests suggests that environmental variability may complicate the management of such shared resources. In recent years, an extended breakdown in cooperation was fueled by strongly divergent trends in Alaskan and southern salmon abundance, and a consequent change in the balance of each nations interceptions of salmon spawned in the other nations rivers. While several natural and anthropogenic factors contributed to these trends, there is considerable evidence that changing ocean conditions played a significant role. The period of high productivity in Alaska contributed to increased Alaskan interceptions of B.C. salmon at a time when Pacific Northwest coho and chinook could least withstand retaliatory actions on the part of the Canadian fleet. Only recently, has the mounting crisis led to a fundamental shift in the approach taken by the two nations to determine their respective salmon-harvest shares. On June 30, 1999, Canada and the U.S. signed an agreement which, if successfully implemented, may lay the groundwork for a more sustainable cooperative management regime. However, there are many unanswered questions regarding the viability and sustainability of the new Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement. This paper draws lessons from the recent period of turmoil to identify strengths and weaknesses in the new abundance-based management approach, and to suggest avenues for further negotiations to secure more rational management of Pacific salmon resources.
Miller, K., G. Munro, R. McKelvey and P. Tyedmers. Climate, Uncertainty and the Pacific Salmon Treaty: Insights on the Harvest Management Game. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.