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Glacier Bay Marine Reserve: Ruse or Responsible Proposal?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Langdon, Stephen J.
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2180
Sector: Fisheries
Region: North America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
marine resources
environmental protection
Abstract: "At the confluence of the eastern North Pacific Ocean and northwestern North America is an area of mountains, glaciers, forests, streams and inlets that have been in dramatic and continuous transformation for thousands of years. At the present time, most of the area north of Icy Straits, from the north Pacitic Ocean on the west to the Chilkat Mountains on the east, fall within the boundaries of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. This park includes the most extensive expanse of marine waters in the National Park system and the use of and jurisdiction over these waters has been debated contentiously among groups with diametrically opposed vantage points on subsistence harvesting and commercial fishing for nearly twenty years. "The waters and shores of Glacier Bay National Park are the ancestral homeland of the Huna, a subdivision of the Tlingit Indian people who have maintained their utilization of the waters and lands from the period prior to contact until the present time. The waters have also been utilized for commercial fisheries for over 100 years with both the Huna Tlingit and non-Native Euro-American fishermen engaged in the harvest of salmon, halibut, crab, cod, shrimp and rockfish fo the industry. "While commercial fishing in the marine waters of the Park was authorized in the past, a shift in the policies of the National Park Service in the 1980s and continuing into the 1990s has led to a 20 year long battle about whether consumptive uses, either for subsistence as the Huna Tlingit have practiced, or commercial as the fishermen, both Tlingit and Euro-American have practiced, will continue. At the present time the National Park Service has under consideration a proposed rule considering five alternatives. The preferred alternative proposes the elimination of all commercial fishing in Glacier Bay proper within 15 years. Alternative three explicitly incorporates marine reserve concepts purporting to provide an opportunity for the National Park Service (NPS) and the State of Alaska to test the effectiveness of high-latitude marine reserves for various purposes(NPS 1998b:3). According to this alternative, all commercial fisheries for 'resident species' (i.e. those whose life cycle is restricted to Glacier Bay) would be phased out after seven years leaving only a winter troll fishery that harvests highly migratory king salmon to continue. "Is the proposed Glacier Bay marine reserve a responsible proposal to preserve fish stocks or a ruse used to support the aims of environmental organizations to preclude commercial fishing from Glacier Bay? This paper will explore the intersecting and conflicting interests of local Tlingit groups, non-Native commercial fishermen, environmentalist groups (importantly divided into local and non-local sectors), and marine biologists concerning future uses of Glacier Bay. Who proposed the Marine Reserve? Whose interests are being served by designating Glacier Bay as a marine reserve? For what purposes is the reserve being created? These questions will be addressed through an examination of the history of the use of the area, its designation as 'special space' by the US government, and the ideologies (beliefs, values, and action programs) of those who express an interest in the area."

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