The best-performing SOM model suggested four respondent clusters. In this section, we describe the clusters with the statements that most characterise each cluster (created by the SOM). The clusters we identified were: traditional Sámi fishing (Cluster 0); salmon protection (Cluster 1); equal economic opportunity (Cluster 2); and evidence-based decision making first (Cluster 3), Figs. 2–6. (see all 43 statements in the SOM heat-maps separated into aspects of interest, knowledge, management, and policy needs related to the Teno salmon, Appendix 2).
Cluster 0—traditional Sámi fishing
For Cluster 0, traditional local knowledge was in most agreement with sustainable salmon management. Accordingly, there was a conflict of interest between traditional Sámi fishing and other fishers, and between scientific knowledge concerning salmon and local knowledge concerning the Teno River. Cluster 0 postulated that the scientific approach focuses on fishing pressure and insufficiently on predators, the wider river environment, or salmon lifecycle. Salmon fishing was seen as a traditional livelihood, not a hobby. Sámi fishers had a particular relationship with the Teno River, which was inherently different from those of the non-Sámi. People from outside the Sámi culture therefore should not have a similar standing in salmon management to the Sámi concerning the Teno River. For Cluster 0, the divide of “us” as legitimate insiders and “them” as outsiders was essential.
Cluster 1—salmon protection
For Cluster 1, science provided the best grounds for sustainable decisions, not traditional Sámi knowledge. The managerial focus should be strictly on salmon. The task was to provide management rules, not to oppress people. Furthermore, the view was that the state had not colonised Sámi fishers. Policy was needed to avoid maladaptation, and the policy should be designed formally and based on strictly defined quotas. The view of this cluster was that sustainability must not be compromised.
Cluster 2—equal economic opportunity
Cluster 2 built on the beliefs in the importance of scientific advice in policymaking, but the cluster reflected the view that scientific advice was misused within the colonial system of governance. However, in this cluster, individual scientists were seen as respecting Sámi culture. Salmon management on the Norwegian side was not blamed, because it was seen as working better there, and salmon fishing should not be an economic privilege of the Sámi. Sámi fishing rights, trust in science and scientists regarding traditional knowledge and its continuity, salmon management through sustainable fishing, and the significance of salmon for local entrepreneurs also played a significant role in the comments.
Cluster 3—evidence-based decision making
Cluster 3 built on a shared belief that evidence-based policy respected the Sámi, but the beliefs in the cluster opposed all types of fishing pressure on salmon, whether it was caused by the Sámi, non-Sámi locals, or landowners living outside the river basin. This cluster’s view was that there should be no further issuance of fishing rights, but the current Sámi rights and future should be respected. The interests were essentially the same: in their own ways, beliefs in this cluster showed care for the fish. However, it was felt in this cluster that the Norwegians were too loose with issuing fishing permission, and that local fishing habits were unsustainable.
Divergence and Similarity
In this section, we present statements that show divergence or similarity in SOM heat-maps (Appendix 1). Colder clusters (towards blue) are more in disagreement with the statement; warmer ones (towards red) are more in agreement (see Appendix 2 for all the statements).
The evidence-based decision-making cluster indicated that fishers’ interests in the Teno River were essentially parallel (see Appendix 2, statement: 37; Appendix 1, Fig. 7). It was the fish and their sustainable catch that mattered. However, the traditional Sámi fishing cluster did not share this optimism: it quite strongly opposed the idea that different fishers in the Teno shared an underlying interest. The evidence cluster saw this in more general terms, while the traditional Sámi fishing cluster saw it as a concrete issue of the need to protect their rights to traditional net fishing methods (such as weir and drift netting, which were still allowed). Local needs differed from those held by scientists, administrators, and policy planners. In the traditional Sámi fishing cluster, fishing was a primary need, an essential constituent of individual and social wellbeing. Furthermore, it was clear for them that this was a matter of ethnic and cultural self-determination (on self-determination see Nuttall 2019). For scientists and policy planners, the need was more of a technical obligation related to decision-making procedures. The need concerned the fulfilment of the institutional requirements.
In the face of conflict, the traditional Sámi fishing cluster strongly agreed with the statement that decision-makers did not sufficiently take Sámi needs into account (statement: 21), while the evidence cluster held that they in fact did. This represented a conflict of interest concerning the substantive and procedural decision-making issues. Except for the evidence cluster, the other clusters slightly held that as indigenous people, the Sámi people should have more extensive fishing rights than other fishers (34). In other words, there should be positive discrimination for Sámi people in relation to salmon fishing. The Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD 2004, 2020) prescribes taking indigenous rights (knowledge, practices, and innovations) into account when species protection and indigenous rights are present in the same situation.
If the objective of the Teno fishing agreement was to reduce fishing pressure, it was impossible to sustain the status quo of all the fishing rights in Teno salmon management. If the cut of 30% was not taken from the Sámi catch, it must be reduced from the other rights. The general view, and especially in the traditional Sámi fishing cluster, held that non-Sámi local interests should not weigh more than they currently did in planning and decision making (27). All clusters agreed that non-local landowners should not be allowed to use nets for fishing (39). Only the equal opportunity first cluster quite strongly agreed with the statement that the tourists’ allowable catch should be restrained in the same proportion as the Sámi fishers’ allowable catch (35). The cut should be taken from others’ catches. Procedurally, the traditional Sámi fishing cluster held that there should not be a strict quota for all fisher groups (42). The Sámi should be protected from such a quota. Only the equal economic opportunity cluster supported the statement that those born by the Teno River should have the same rights as those who still lived there (41). The equal economic opportunity cluster did not oppose fishing, but they were unwilling to positively discriminate on behalf of the Sámi. All the clusters diverged from the statement concerning whether only the Sámi should be entitled to sell fishing licences (36).
For the traditional Sámi fishing cluster, traditional fishing was not a hobby (30), but a livelihood and enterprise (29). However, the equal economic opportunity cluster saw traditional fishing more as a hobby. This might have been because the habit of thinking did not encompass traditional net fishing, despite the fact that the entrepreneurs constituting the cluster might have this right: they might be focused on attracting more tourist fishers to the river in the summer and getting them to use their services (accommodation, food, guiding, etc.). The evidence cluster and the equal economic opportunity cluster were slightly in favour of seeing Sámi fishing as a livelihood and enterprise.
In general, the local fishers had serious issues with salmon science. However, it was especially evident that science and scientists were not viewed in the same way (Appendix 1, Fig. 8). According to the traditional Sámi fishing cluster, salmon science was biased (5); the equal economic opportunity cluster believed this even more strongly, indicating that salmon scientists were not neutral (6), but in fact served particular societal interests. The traditional Sámi fishing cluster extended this idea, holding that salmon scientists represented colonialism (10). The salmon protection and evidence clusters diverged from this view. For them, salmon scientists respected Sámi culture (7), and the evidence cluster held that salmon scientists utilised traditional knowledge (8) in their work. The equal economic opportunity cluster built on scepticism concerning the respect scientists showed for Sámi traditions.
All the clusters supported the statement that salmon science had increased the local understanding of salmon issues (14). This view was supported by the fact that local fishers had collected scale samples for 40 years, and local stakeholders had been invited to the annual Teno Info event, where population and lifecycle issues had been discussed for several years. In addition, many locals had continuous contact with salmon scientists outside this event—for example, if they caught a strange fish, they contacted fishery scientists for advice and further research. Meanwhile, some scientists enjoyed good relations with local fishers outside this collaboration. Social learning had evidently taken place in recent decades.
However, not all local knowledge was considered the same. The traditional Sámi fishing cluster strongly indicated that traditional knowledge differed from other local knowledge (20). The salmon protection and the equal economic opportunity clusters tended to build on this belief as well, but the evidence-based decision-making cluster did not.
The traditional Sámi fishing cluster challenged the statement that traditional knowledge no longer applied in changing environmental conditions (16), while the salmon protection and the evidence clusters were slightly in favour of this. For the traditional Sámi fishing and equal economic opportunity clusters, salmon science focused too much on fishing pressure and belittled the effects of predators on salmon (4).
The traditional Sámi fishing cluster saw bad salmon management as the root cause of the loss of traditional Sámi knowledge (33) (Appendix 1, Fig. 9). The evidence cluster disagreed with the claim that the Sámi people were losing traditional knowledge because of management. Instead, this cluster built on the belief that the management showed respect for the Sámi fishing culture (25).
For the equal economic opportunity cluster, local traditional knowledge should be incorporated better in decision making to have a positive influence on Sámi culture (12). Why did the Sámi rights cluster not support this? Perhaps the question of Sámi engagement is in itself too colonial.
All but the salmon protection cluster were slightly in favour of the claim that scientific knowledge was insufficient for decision making, but traditional knowledge was also needed (13). This cluster believed in science more than the others. The statement that decisions should be based on scientific knowledge rather than traditional knowledge (17) separated the traditional Sámi fishing cluster from the others. The evidence cluster agreed that scientific knowledge influenced decision making (11). The others perceived this statement as lukewarm. The claim that the Sámi fishers promoted their interests inappropriately (32) only received slight support from the equal economic opportunity cluster.
The evidence cluster also agreed that scientists and decision-makers understood salmon-related knowledge and formal knowledge requirements similarly (2), while the others, especially the equal opportunity cluster, slightly opposed this. The evidence cluster also believed that decision-makers incorporated the most recent scientific knowledge sufficiently (19). The equal economic opportunity cluster opposed this slightly, believing it would not be especially difficult to apply local traditional knowledge in Teno salmon management planning and decision making (18), while the others saw it as a difficulty.
It was slightly shared by all clusters that salmon-related science concentrated too much on salmon and not on the wider Teno River environment (3). However, the evidence cluster would not go so far as to claim that salmon science was used against local people (9). This latter statement divided the clusters into two joint clusters, traditional Sámi fishing and equal economic opportunities on the one hand, and salmon protection and evidence clusters on the other.
The evidence-based decision-making cluster held that the fishing pressure on the Teno River negatively affected how salmon subpopulations in tributaries were doing (38), and a new fishing agreement was therefore necessary to revive the Teno salmon subpopulations (15) (Appendix 1, Fig. 10). However, there was a division concerning how fishing was understood to affect the different salmon subpopulations. Locals, especially the equal economic opportunity cluster, held that fishing did not greatly affect the situation. Therefore, in this view, the current Teno fishing agreement was unnecessary and should be cancelled, because it was obsolete, and the negotiation process should be restarted (43).
The traditional Sámi fishing and equal economic opportunity clusters held that Sámi fishing was sustainable (31). The evidence and the salmon protection clusters recognised the negative influence of fishing. In all, the traditional Sámi fishing cluster seemed to hold that tourists negatively impacted the salmon population, while the equal opportunity cluster did not indicate there was a problem with the state of the salmon population, and if there was a problem, it was because of predation in the sea and river.
Both the equal economic opportunity and evidence clusters agreed with the statements that Norwegian salmon policy practices negatively affected practices in Finland (28). Finland had little to say on how the Norwegians fished on the first 60 km of the Teno River, which ran on their side. The regulation had been quite similar on both sides of the river since the 2017 agreement. The traditional Sámi fishing cluster did not blame the Sámi fishers of Norway. For the salmon protection cluster, the solution should be the restriction of fishing, no matter from where the pressure emanated.
The evidence and salmon protection clusters opposed the claim that salmon governance was colonial (26). The conflict was not one of interests alone. It also concerned human and indigenous rights, and the substantial and procedural legal principles of natural resource planning and decision making. The state of Finland played an active role in how these principles were enacted, and how these rights were implemented (see Heinämäki et al. 2017).
The salmon protection and equal economic opportunity clusters were somewhat indifferent to Sámi self-governance. Neither the traditional Sámi fishing nor the evidence cluster agreed strongly with the question of whether Sámi self-governance should be developed further in relation to salmon management (24). The first mildly favoured it, while the latter disfavoured it slightly. Perhaps this question about the basic institutional structure was too abstract in this case-specific context.
In management planning and decision making, it was difficult to hear different stakeholders equally, because the chosen policy predetermined which actions were possible, and which were not (23). Once the salmon protection was decided, and especially when the decision to cut the fishing pressure by 30% had been made, there was no leeway for further action. The traditional Sámi fishing and equal economic opportunity clusters agreed strongly with this claim, while the salmon protection and evidence clusters had only moderate feelings about it. However, the traditional Sámi fishing cluster slightly believed that lobbying pressure influenced decision making (22), whereas the other clusters did not.
Indeed, there was little need for policy adaptation, because all were lukewarm about the statement that all three sustainability realms (ecological, economic, and social) were well incorporated in salmon planning and decision making (1). In addition, all clusters agreed with the statement that the continuity of the Sámi fishing culture should be taken into account in salmon policy and management planning and decision making (40).