Policy Sciences

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 169–191 | Cite as

Fish and chips: cross-cutting issues and actors in a co-managed fishery regime in the Pacific Northwest

  • Syma A. Ebbin


The goal of biological resource management regimes is to balance human uses of resources with their inherent regenerative capacities. While accomplishing this goal, managers usually face a multiplicity of stakeholder groups bringing a suite of different, and at times conflicting, interests and values to the management table. In the case of the migratory Pacific salmon, the resource regimes are comprised of a series of hierarchically nested institutional arrangements, engaged in cross-level and cross-scale interactions. Co-management institutions have emerged, at least in part, to address these challenges, encompassing a diversity of stakeholders, providing a forum for the sharing of different beliefs, values and perspectives and, importantly, an institutional response to a suite of cross-scale challenges. This article examines how institutional innovation, specifically the emergence of the Pacific Northwest salmon co-management regime, created new roles and legitimized the participation of new actors. In turn, this has transformed tribal co-managers into “cross-cutting actors”, active in management arenas at multiple jurisdictional and spatial levels in which they represent different interests or constituents. Wearing “different hats”, these tribal actors mobilize a suite of cross-cutting issues, relevant within different policy subsystems, and create bridges among actors who may be opponents in other fora. This has altered the emergence and trajectory of conflict and cooperation as well as problems of institutional interplay and addressed some of the scale-related challenges that exist within the Pacific salmon management regime.


Fisheries management Co-management Institutional interplay Pacific salmon Cooperative management Scale 



Thanks go to the many fishermen and fisheries managers in Washington State who gave freely of their time in permitting me to interview them. The US Man and the Biosphere Program High Latitude Ecosystem Directorate, Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, Switzer Foundation, Sussman Foundation and the National Science Foundation through its funding of the project on the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change provided support for this research and the development of this paper. This paper was initially presented at the joint annual conference of the International Studies Association—Northeast Region/Northeast American Political Science Association. I thank the editor and peer reviewers for their insightful comments, which helped to strengthen and improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of ConnecticutGrotonUSA

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