Treaty past, treaty present : an interdisciplinary analysis of the Pacific Salmon Treaty through examination of the values, culture and political structures that provide definition Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v405sg31p

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  • The Pacific Salmon Treaty was established by Canada and the United States to secure sustainability of salmon harvests within the Pacific Northwest. Renewed in June 1999, the treaty functions to legitimize and empower the Pacific Salmon Commission as the agent of fishery sustainability. The Pacific Salmon Commission serves as a bilateral recommendation-making body. Through its formal and informal, communications, the commission suggests action and defines regional salmon policy. Over the past decade pressures related to overharvest, changing oceanic conditions, and an increasing demand for production have challenged the commission and the fishery as never before. The Pacific Salmon Treaty was officially signed into existence in 1985. It was supposed to be re-ratified in 1992. This did not occur. From 1992 until 1999 numerous ratification processes were attempted, all but one failed. During this time tensions mounted and expressed frustrations nearly prompted overt violence. In August 1997 Canadian fishermen angered at the lack of a solution blockaded a U.S. passenger ferry thrusting the issue onto the world stage. In response to the crisis Canada and the U.S. empowered a joint commission to find resolution. While the resultant Strangway-Ruckelshaus Initiative proved to be a failure, its findings paved the way for eventual re-ratification. The Pacific Salmon Treaty exists because salmon within the Pacific Northwest represent different but simultaneous values within rooted world view orientations. The respective political cultures of Canada and the U.S. have sustained administrative regimes consistent with their dominant understanding of salmon and its values. Divergent cultural expectations and shared economic pressures have sustained conflict over the fishery and led to political and economic uncertainty. The Pacific Salmon Treaty is a work in progress. Understanding the treaty's context, historical development and function is vital for the sustainability of the fishery. The recent ratification of the Pacific Salmon Treaty represents an evolution in shared resource management. Based upon an abundance-based management regime the 1999 agreement provides the Pacific Salmon Commission with more discretionary capacity. However, the new pact may prove to be incomplete in form and function because of contradictory world view orientations. This research suggests that an emphasis on struggle management instead of conflict avoidance coupled with an enhanced bilateral commitment to the sustainability of the fishery may prove most helpful for the long-term outlook of the salmon. It also suggests that it is simply too early to tell whether this most recent attempt can or will save the salmon.
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