Courtney Carothers

Courtney Carothers


Commercial Fisheries
Human Dimensions and Community Development
Fisheries Management

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
1007 West 3rd Avenue
Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99501-1936



University of Washington
Ph.D. Anthropology

University of Washington
M.A. Anthropology

Cornell University
B.A. Biology and Society


Curriculum Vitae




Carothers, C., T.L. Sformo, S. Cotton, J.C. George, and P.A.H. Westley. (2019). "Pacific salmon in the rapidly changing Arctic: Exploring local knowledge and emerging fisheries in Utqiagvik and Nuiqsut, Alaska". Arctic. 72(3)

Lyons, C., C. Carothers, and J. Coleman. (2019). "Alaska’s community development quota program: A complex institution affecting rural communities in disparate ways". Marine Policy.

Coleman, J., C. Carothers, R. Donkersloot, D. Ringer, P. Cullenberg, and A. Bateman. (2018). "Alaska’s next generation of potential fishermen: A survey of youth attitudes towards fishing and community in Bristol Bay and the Kodiak Archipelago". Maritime Studies. 18:239.

Ringer, D., C. Carothers, R. Donkersloot, J. Coleman, and P. Cullenberg. (2018). "For generations to come? The privatization paradigm and shifting social baselines in Kodiak, Alaska's commercial fisheries". Marine Policy. 98:97–103.

Young, O.R., D.G. Webster, M.E. Cox, J. Raakjær, L. Øfjord Blaxekjær, N. Einarsson, R.A. Virginia, J. Acheson, D. Bromley, E. Cardwell, C. Carothers, E. Eythórsson, R.B. Howarth, S. Jentoft, B.J. McCay, F. McCormack, G. Osherenko, E. Pinkerton, R.J. van Ginkel, J.A. Wilson, L. Rivers III, and R.S. Wilson. (2018). "Moving beyond panaceas in fisheries governance". PNAS. 115(37):9065–9073.

Charnley, S., C. Carothers, T. Satterfield, A. Levine, M.R. Poe, K. Norman, J. Donatuto, S.J. Breslow, M.B. Mascia, P.S. Levin, X. Basurto, C.C. Hicks, C. Garcia-Quijano, and K. St. Martin. (2017). "Evaluating the best available social science for natural resource management decision-making". Environmental Science & Policy. 73:80–88.

Breslow, S., B. Sojka, R. Barnea, X. Basurto, C. Carothers, S. Charnley, S. Coulthard, N. Dolsak, J. Donatuto, C. Garcia-Quijano, C.C. Hicks, A. Levine, M.B. Mascia, K. Norman, M. Poe, T. Satterfield, K. St. Martin, and P.S. Levin. (2016). "Conceptualizing and operationalizing human wellbeing for ecosystem assessment and management". Environmental Science & Policy. 66:250–259.

Chambers, C., and C. Carothers. (2016). "Thirty years after privatization: A survey of Icelandic small-boat fishermen". Marine Policy. 80:69–80.

Hicks, C.C., A. Levine, A. Agrawal, X. Basurto, S. Breslow, C. Carothers, S. Charnley, S. Coulthard, N. Dolsak, J. Donatuto, C. Garcia-Quijano, M.B. Mascia, K. Norman, M. Poe, T. Satterfield, K. St. Martin, and P.S. Levin. (2016). "Concrete engagement with social science concepts for sustainability". Science. 253(6281):38-40.

Lyons, C., C. Carothers, and K. Reedy. (2016). "Means, meanings and contexts: A framework for integrating detailed ethnographic data into assessments of fishing community vulnerability". Marine Policy. 74:341–350.

Carothers, C.. (2015). "Fisheries privatization, social transitions, and well-being in Kodiak, Alaska". Marine Policy. 61:313–322.

Carothers, C., C. Brown, K.J. Moerlein, J.A. López, D.B. Andersen, and B. Retherford. (2014). "Measuring perceptions of climate change in northern Alaska: pairing ethnography with cultural consensus analysis". Ecology and Society. 19(4):27.

Carothers, C.. (2013). "A survey of US halibut IFQ holders: Market participation, attitudes, and impacts". Marine Policy. 38:515–522.

Carothers, C., and C. Chambers*. (2012). "Fisheries privatization and the remaking of fishery systems". Environment and Society: Advances in Research. 3:39–59.

Moerlein, K.J.*, and C. Carothers. (2012). "Total environment of change: Impacts of climate change and social transitions on subsistence fisheries in Northwest Alaska". Ecology and Society. 17(1)



In p. Sea change in fisheries governance. Ed. D.G. Webster, E. Cardwell, C. Carothers, and F. McCormack, guest editors for special issue. Elementa.

2016. Considering communities in fisheries management. Ed. C. Lyons and C. Carothers, guest editors for special issue. Marine Policy. 74:1-350.

2014. Conceptual, methodological, practical, and ethical challenges in studying and applying indigenous knowledge. Ed. C. Carothers, M. Moritz, and R. Zarger, guest editors for special issue. Ecology and Society. 19(4):43.

2012. Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change. Ed. C. Carothers, K.R. Criddle, C.P. Chambers, P.J. Cullenberg, J.A. Fall, A.H. Himes-Cornell, J.P. Johnsen, N.S. Kimball, C.R. Menzies, and E.S. Springer. Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

2008. Enclosing the Fisheries: People, Places, and Power. Symposium 68, Ed. M. Lowe and C. Carothers. American Fisheries Society


  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Political Ecology
  • Marine Policy
  • Fishing Communities


Research Overview

I am an environmental anthropologist with broad interests in human-environment relationships, particularly in marine and fisheries systems. In one central area of study, I explore the shifts in fishing livelihoods as fishing rights become privatized. In another, I partner with indigenous communities in the Arctic to study social-ecological change and traditional ways of life and work toward decolonizing science.


Current Research Projects

  • Indigenizing Salmon Science and Management (Funded by Salmon Connect Partnership, Co-PIs, Jessica Black [Gwich'in Athabascan] and Rachel Donkersloot)
    Inequities in the salmon system are paramount. These inequities stem from a historical context of colonialism, and are perpetuated in current management systems. These inequities are evident in many dimensions of the salmon system, including: the criminalization of subsistence, the dramatic loss of Alaska Native fishing rights, and the exclusion and marginalization of Tribes, Alaska Native fishing families and communities and Indigenous values and ways of knowing from science and management processes. These inequities have had significant effects on community health and well-being on multiple levels and affect the ability of future generations to learn, grow, and continue traditional lifeways. These issues will not be reconciled until Indigenous voices are meaningfully heard and given power to enact and participate in the decision-making processes. The goal of the Indigenizing Salmon Management is to use a deeply participatory approach to document the breadth and depth of Indigenous values, knowledge, management and governance systems connected to salmon across Alaska and to use this wisdom to improve the current salmon management systems in Alaska.

  • State of Alaska's Salmon and People: Social and Cultural Dimensions and Well-being in Alaska's Salmon Systems (Funded by University of California, Santa Barbara, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, co-PIs: Jessica Black [Gwich'in Athabascan] and Rachel Donkersloot)
    Social and cultural dimensions workgroup: Alaska’s salmon ecosystems support a wide range of social and cultural values for people. Salmon are a cultural keystone species for many of the Indigenous cultures in Alaska and contribute to the physical, social, economic, cultural, spiritual, psychological and emotional well-being of people in communities across the state. They form the backbone of the commercial fishing economy and are highly valued for food procurement and resident and tourist recreation. Overall, salmon play integral and diverse roles in the society, cultures, and economies of Alaska. In this state of knowledge synthesis of the social and cultural dimensions of salmon systems in Alaska, we are exploring three guiding topics: (1) Social and cultural values and relationships between salmon and people, (2) trends in human populations and uses of salmon, (3) key threats to salmon-dependent communities.

    Well-being workgroup: Human well-being has been widely promoted as an important dimension of sustainability, and is increasingly gaining application in fisheries. Efforts to measure well-being and to incorporate these dimensions into resource governance and decision-making remain hamstrung by availability of data and broad assumptions about important components of quality of life and well-being. In the context of Alaska salmon systems, clearly defined measures are needed to create a baseline and monitor well-being variables, especially given current management concerns surrounding climate change, resource development, and in many cases, the alienation of long-standing fishing communities and local resource users from the resource base (e.g., out-migration of fishing permits from rural and Alaska Native communities). This "state of the knowledge" synthesis is driven by a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue with the aim of understanding interdependencies between sociocultural and ecological systems, salmon-human connections and contributions to well-being in Alaska, and relationships between management and well-being. We pay special attention to well-being concepts inclusive of Indigenous people’s priorities and perspectives. Workgroup members include Indigenous and nonIndigenous researchers, practitioners, and knowledge bearers from diverse communities across Alaska, and other expertise representing a range of disciplines, organizations and governmental bodies.

  • Graying of the Fleet in Alaska's Fisheries: Defining the Problem and Assessing Alternatives (Alaska Sea Grant and North Pacific Research) This study seeks to better define the problem of the "graying of the fleet," a pressing concern for the state of Alaska, and to assess and develop alternatives that will help address this growing problem. This ethnographic research project based in the vital commercial fishing regions of Bristol Bay and Kodiak, Alaska will: (1) document and compare barriers to entry into, and upward mobility within, fisheries among youth and young fishery participants. (2) examine the factors influencing young people’'s attitudes toward, and level of participation in, Alaska fisheries. (3) identify models of successful pathways to establishing fishing careers among young residents. (4) identify potential policy responses to address the graying of the fleet and develop specific recommendations consistent with the state and federal legal frameworks.

  • Gender, Environment, and Change: Exploring Shifting Roles in an Inupiat Community (National Science Foundation, Co-PI: Zanotti) This environmental anthropology study will provide a detailed ethnographic picture of the ways in which Alaska Native communities are responding to global challenges while at the same time retaining and practicing their core indigenous values in the face of many uncertainties. Previous research has identified indigenous groups and women as some of the most vulnerable populations affected by pronounced political, economic, and environmental shifts. In this study we seek to examine gendered responses to the processes of globalization and significant social-environmental change and the shifting roles of women in the midst of such changes. This research will provide an in-depth study of the gendered, multigenerational responses to specific contemporary changes in Barrow, Alaska, an Iñupiat subsistence-based community and economic and administrative hub of Arctic Slope region. While it is widely recognized that women play important roles as providers in this region, more research is needed on the evolving nature of women's "work" given new vocational and educational opportunities in the context of shifting mixed economies, increasing regulation of the environment, cumulative oil and gas exploration and extraction, and pronounced environmental change.