Proposed Abstract Title

The socio-ecological system of razor clams and the Quinault Indian Nation: modeling the potential impacts of ocean change on a steadfast fishery

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Climate Change and Culturally Important Foods, Resources, and Places in the Salish Ecosystem

Location

2016SSEC

Description

On the outer coast of Washington state, cultural values and traditional lifestyles are closely entwined with the marine resources affected by ocean change. Our research explores how ongoing ocean change may challenge the social-ecological system surrounding the Quinault Indian Nation’s razor clam harvest. We conducted semi-structured interviews with Quinault tribal members, scientists, and resource managers to generate a conceptual model of the social-ecological system, which we use to 1) understand the emergent effects of changes in availability of razor clams and 2) explore how the tribal community might prepare for or adapt to these impacts. We find that razor clams are a staple food and key income source for the Quinault people due to their high abundance, low cost to harvest, and long season of availability relative to other natural resources. Low-income families experience disproportionate economic impacts during razor clam harvest closures, but less tangible social and cultural impacts are felt broadly throughout the community. Although razor clams have been abundant and safe for harvest in many recent years, the Quinault perceive many threats to the resource, including climate change, harmful algal blooms, pollution, and habitat damage. We will extend our initial conceptual model using formal analysis of interview responses, supplemented with expert interviews of western scientists, to craft a Bayesian belief network of the Quinault-razor clam system. This will enable the exploration of qualitative connections between ocean change, razor clam availability and community-level variables such as indigenous health and well-being, income, and social network composition. Uncertainty around human responses will be incorporated to the extent possible. This work is an ongoing effort from graduate students in natural resource policy and fisheries science as part of the IGERT Program on Ocean Change at the University of Washington.

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The socio-ecological system of razor clams and the Quinault Indian Nation: modeling the potential impacts of ocean change on a steadfast fishery

2016SSEC

On the outer coast of Washington state, cultural values and traditional lifestyles are closely entwined with the marine resources affected by ocean change. Our research explores how ongoing ocean change may challenge the social-ecological system surrounding the Quinault Indian Nation’s razor clam harvest. We conducted semi-structured interviews with Quinault tribal members, scientists, and resource managers to generate a conceptual model of the social-ecological system, which we use to 1) understand the emergent effects of changes in availability of razor clams and 2) explore how the tribal community might prepare for or adapt to these impacts. We find that razor clams are a staple food and key income source for the Quinault people due to their high abundance, low cost to harvest, and long season of availability relative to other natural resources. Low-income families experience disproportionate economic impacts during razor clam harvest closures, but less tangible social and cultural impacts are felt broadly throughout the community. Although razor clams have been abundant and safe for harvest in many recent years, the Quinault perceive many threats to the resource, including climate change, harmful algal blooms, pollution, and habitat damage. We will extend our initial conceptual model using formal analysis of interview responses, supplemented with expert interviews of western scientists, to craft a Bayesian belief network of the Quinault-razor clam system. This will enable the exploration of qualitative connections between ocean change, razor clam availability and community-level variables such as indigenous health and well-being, income, and social network composition. Uncertainty around human responses will be incorporated to the extent possible. This work is an ongoing effort from graduate students in natural resource policy and fisheries science as part of the IGERT Program on Ocean Change at the University of Washington.