Reconnecting social and ecological resilience in salmon ecosystems

Bottom, D. L., K. K. Jones, C. A. Simenstad, and C. L. Smith. 2009. Reconnecting social and ecological resilience in salmon ecosystems. Ecology and Society 14 (1): 5. [online] URL:

Much of this article ties in with previous conversations we've had this semester, particularly because this is a paper on social ecology tied with resilience and published in Resilience Alliance. Bottom et al. target and criticize current fisheries management programs. This paper gives an interesting overview of historic attempt to save Pacific salmon from going down the same road as Atlantic salmon. Management practices of hatcheries were legistlated as a form of conservation in the late eighties. What this didn't take into account was how fishing to capacity and failing to calculate extra salmon spawning, there is a lack of return throughout the ecosystem of the processes not valued. In other words, this "command and control" model doesn't value ecosystem resilience like elements such as clean water, ample stream flows, functional wetlands and floodplains, intact riparian systems, and abundant fish populations.

But equally as important, the paper argues how these management practices neglect social resiliencies attached to a resource and ecosystem. They highlight the fact that managing a resource like andronomous fish is particularly messy because some species can be managed by a dozen or even two dozen different jurisdictions that they pass through. Research is based on three central questions; (1.) What are the social and ecological attributes of resilient salmon ecosystems? (2.) What factors have undermined resilience of salmon ecosystems? (2.)What factors have undermined resilience of salmon ecosystems? and (3.) What changes are most needed to incorporate resilience thinking in fishery management and to strengthen social- ecological connections to salmon?

Because this superficial management of fisheries via hatcheries undermines the ecological nature of a resource and its processes, it also weakens the connection of social ties with salmon and creates more uncertainty among people whose survival and livelihood are strongly connected with salmon.

While this topic is very interesting, they fail to provide a convincing solution of how a different type of resource management could in time unite social and ecological ties to salmon. Similarly, the social nature of resource management is the focus of their paper, but they never delve into the sociological issues and attempt to empower those dependent upon fisheries, leaving me wanting more social ecology issues surrounding this problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment