Fish or Flight: Modeling the Migration Decisions of Fish Harvesters in Rural Alaska

Working with sociologists and economists, a Washington Sea Grant-supported fellow is investigating the drivers of outmigration from rural Alaskan communities and the impacts on the sustainability of rural harvesting operations.


Jennifer Meredith, University of Washington, School of Economics

Project Leader

Chris Anderson, University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Co-Project Leader

Amber Himes-Cornell, NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center


Movement of Alaska residents out of commercial fishing has created concerns about the threat that this may pose to traditional communities and the need to better understand how fishing regulations influence migration decisions. This project will develop a predictive economic model of how shifts in Alaska fisheries management affect rural fish harvesters’ ability to make a living. The model will build on qualitative interviews, historical data, and newly collected survey data to identify the impact of policy measures, such as training programs and permit and credit subsidies, designed to reduce the amount of migration from rural fishing communities. It will help identify ways for fishery managers to enhance the sustainability of rural harvesting and traditional communities.