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Title:The making of an American ichthyological empire: how the structure of perpetual exploitation of Bristol Bay salmon developed in southwest Alaska, 1883-1970s
Author(s):Ito, Koji
Director of Research:Hoganson, Kristin; Wilson, Roderick I.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hoganson, Kristin; Wilson, Roderick I.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Asaka, Ikuko; Finley, Carmel; Tsuchiya, Yuka
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Bristol Bay
salmon fisheries
resource extractive colonialism
maximum sustainable yield
science and technology
Law of the Sea
inter-imperial diplomacy
U.S.-Japan relations
Abstract:This dissertation studies the historical development of salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay off southwest Alaska from the pre-contact era to the 1970s. More specifically, it examines how Anglo- Americans constructed and maintained vibrant salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay during the period. This project focuses on institutions and regimes and discusses how the structure of perpetual exploitation of Bristol Bay salmon emerged and developed in the twentieth century. This dissertation demonstrates that Anglo-American cannery businessmen and government officials at Washington created what I call an ichthyological empire in Bristol Bay. The ichthyological empire was science-oriented resource extractive colonialism and its essence was to dominate and keep access to sockeye salmon by expanding scientific knowledge about the fish’s ecology and achieving total control of the fish’s lifecycle. To control and promote the lifecycle of sockeye salmon, Washington officials conducted scientific research in the Bristol Bay region and redesigned the local environmental and ecological landscape. Washington officials also carried out scientific investigations not just in Bristol Bay but also in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific and established what I term a bio-sphere of influence, an extraterritorial spatial area where a state exercised exclusive jurisdiction over the flora and fauna flourishing there, in order to deny foreign pelagic fishermen access to Bristol Bay salmon. Although earlier scholarship has often overlooked the relationship between science and colonialism and undervalued inter-imperial contexts, this dissertation argues that extending scientific knowledge about sockeye salmon’s ecology through inter-imperial entanglements was a key to making the structure of America’s perpetual resource extractive colonialism in Bristol Bay.
Issue Date:2021-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Koji Ito
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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