Environmental Management

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1071–1084 | Cite as

Incorporating Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice into Fishery Management: Comparing Policy Challenges and Potentials from Alaska and Hawaiʻi

  • Laurie RichmondEmail author


Colonial processes including the dispossession of indigenous lands and resources and the development of Western management institutions to govern the use of culturally important fish resources have served in many ways to marginalize indigenous interests within the United States fisheries. In recent years, several US fishery institutions have begun to develop policies that can confront this colonial legacy by better accommodating indigenous perspectives and rights in fishery management practices. This paper analyzes two such policies: the 2005 community quota entity program in Alaska which permits rural communities (predominantly Alaska Native villages) to purchase and lease commercial halibut fishing privileges and the 1994 State of Hawaiʻi community-based subsistence fishing area (CBSFA) legislation through which Native Hawaiian communities can designate marine space near their community as CBSFAs and collaborate with the state of Hawaiʻi to manage those areas according to traditional Hawaiian practices. The analysis reveals a striking similarity between the trajectories of these two policies. While they both offered significant potential for incorporating indigenous rights and environmental justice into state or federal fishery management, they have so far largely failed to do so. Environmental managers can gain insights from the challenges and potentials of these two policies. In order to introduce meaningful change, environmental policies that incorporate indigenous rights and environmental justice require a commitment of financial and institutional support from natural resource agencies, a commitment from indigenous groups and communities to organize and develop capacity, and careful consideration of contextual and cultural factors in the design of the policy framework.


Indigenous Environmental justice Community-based management Co-management Fisheries 



The author gratefully acknowledges the many community members, fishermen, activists, and policy-makers who took the time to describe aspects of these fisheries policies. She is particularly grateful to community members from Old Harbor, AK who were incredibly hospitable during her many visits to the area. Funding for Alaska-based research was provided by the National Science Foundation, the University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change, and the University of Minnesota Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences. Funding for Hawaiʻi-based research was provided by the University of Hawaiʻi Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), and NMFS Office of Science and Technology Community Data Collection Funds. The author worked as a contractor for NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, HI between 2010 and 2012. However, the views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the National Marine Fisheries Service. Human subjects research activities were approved under University of Hawaiʻi Committee on Human Studies #18268 and University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board Study Number: 0605P85866. The author would also like to thank Stewart Allen, Emma Anders, Beth Rose Middleton, and four anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and ManagementHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA

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