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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Laninga, Tamara Jean

Second Advisor

Bach, Andrew J.

Third Advisor

Darby, Kate J.


Fin-fish aquaculture and farming is a disputed and controversial issue in the United States. These controversies and disputes may occur in part because of perceptions of fin-fish aquaculture as threatening to local and regional environments, traditional lifeways, and occupations. These perceptions are complicated by the positive role aquaculture might play in addressing U.S. dependence on seafood imports, as well as issues of socio-economic access to fish and the associated health benefits. Further, how issues of fin-fish aquaculture are perceived, as well as what level of awareness and knowledge perceptions are based on, may impact policy decisions through public support and discourses. Yet, there are few comprehensive studies of perceptions of aquaculture in the U.S. or the implications for food systems and environments through policy decisions. The following thesis is an exploration of fin-fish aquaculture perceptions, awareness, and knowledge at three scales: national, regional, and individual. I have added to current social-aquaculture research by characterizing elements and aspects of perceptions at each scale in three discrete manuscript-style studies. Key findings in this research include correlation between awareness and perception among coastal stakeholders, emphasis on impacts to the natural environment and local food production in perceptions, and the changeability of perceptions in a learning context. Based on the collected findings from all three studies, I give recommendations for approaching fin-fish aquaculture in public policy and planning processes to reduce conflict and increase consensus in context-based goals for fin-fish aquaculture.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Fish culture--United States--Public opinion; Fish culture--Government policy--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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