Vera Spein hangs salmon at a fish camp near Kwethluk, Alaska, in the Yup’ik region, a part of the state with extensive coastline on the Bering Sea. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has recognized that the Traditional Knowledge that Indigenous communities like Spein’s have gathered over generations of living in the Bering Sea region is important to effective fishery management. The indigenous communities of the Bering Strait region have a vast knowledge of salmon runs, ocean currents, marine mammal behavior, and other ecosystem dynamics—information gathered over millennia and passed down from generation to generation. Now federal fishery managers will use that Traditional Knowledge to help guide management for the Bering Sea. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted at its December meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, to adopt a new Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan that lays the groundwork for meaningful incorporation of Traditional Knowledge into decision-making. Social scientists Julie and Brenden Raymond-Yakoubian, a married couple who have worked on the issue for years, say this is a groundbreaking action by the council. “Indigenous communities have been living on—and with—the Bering Sea for generations,” says Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, who is social science program director for Kawerak Inc., the Alaska Native […]

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