picture of 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
Breslow, S., M. Allen, D. Holstein, B. Sojka, R. Barnea, X. Basurto, C. Carothers, S. Charnley, S. Coulthard, N. Dolšak, J. Donatuto, C. García-Quijano, C.C. Hicks, A. Levine, M.B. Mascia, K. Norman, M. Poe, T. Satterfield, K. St. Martin, and P.S. Levin. 2018. Evaluating indicators of human wellbeing for ecosystem-based management. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. 3(12):1–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/20964129.2017.1411767

Carothers, C., A. Seitz, and T. Sutton. 2018. How is climate change affecting subsistence (or traditional) fisheries in the high Arctic? Arctic Answers, Study of Environmental Arctic Change. doi: https://www.searcharcticscience.org/arctic-answers

Donkersloot, R., and C. Carothers. 2018. Chapter 12 – Beyond privatization: rethinking fisheries stewardship and conservation in the North Pacific. Ed. P.S. Levin and M.R. Poe, Conservation for the Anthropocene Ocean: Interdisciplinary science in support of nature and people, pp. 253–270. Elsevier Academic Press, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-805375-1.00012-X

Chambers, C., G. Helgadóttir, and C. Carothers. 2017. "Little kings": Community, change and conflict in Icelandic fisheries. Maritime Studies (MAST). 16:10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40152-017-0064-6

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. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.04.002

Figus, E., C. Carothers, and A.H. Beaudreau. 2017. Using local knowledge to inform fisheries assessment: measuring agreement among Polish fishermen about the abundance and condition of Baltic cod (Gadus morhua). ICES Journal of Marine Science. 74(8):2213–2222. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx061

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. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2016.06.023

Chambers, C., and C. Carothers. 2016. Thirty years after privatization: A survey of Icelandic small-boat fishermen. Marine Policy. 80:69–80. doi: 1016/j.marpol.2016.02.026

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. doi: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad4977

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. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.04.022

Lyons, C., C. Carothers, and K. Reedy. 2016. A tale of two communities: Using relational place-making to examine fisheries policy in the Pribilof Island communities of St. George and St. Paul, Alaska. Maritime Studies (MAST). 15:1–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40152-016-0045-1

Carothers, C.. 2015. Fisheries privatization, social transitions, and well-being in Kodiak, Alaska. Marine Policy. 61:313–322. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2014.11.019

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. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06913-190427

Carothers, C., M. Moritz, and R. Zarger. 2014. Introduction: conceptual, methodological, practical, and ethical challenges in studying and applying indigenous knowledge. Ecology and Society. 19(4):43. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07212-190443

Peterson, M.J., and C. Carothers. 2013. Whale interactions with Alaskan sablefish and Pacific halibut fisheries: Surveying fishermen perception, changing fishing practices and mitigation Marine Policy. 42:315–324. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2013.04.001

In p. Sea change in fisheries governance. Ed. D.G. Webster, E. Cardwell, C. Carothers, and F. McCormack, guest editors for special issue. Elementa. doi: https://collections.elementascience.org/sea-change-in-fisheries-governance/

2016. Considering communities in fisheries management. Ed. C. Lyons and C. Carothers, guest editors for special issue. Marine Policy. 74:1-350. doi: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/marine-policy/vol/74/suppl/C

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. doi: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/issues/view.php?sf=100

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, doi: https://seagrant.uaf.edu/bookstore/pubs/AK-SG-12-03.html

2008. Enclosing the Fisheries: People, Places, and Power. Symposium 68, Ed. M. Lowe and C. Carothers. American Fisheries Society, doi: https://fisheries.org/bookstore/all-titles/afs-symposia/54068p/

  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Political Ecology
  • Marine Policy
  • Fishing Communities
Research Overview
I am an environmental anthropologist with broad interests in human-environmental relationships, particularly in marine and fisheries systems. My areas of research include processes of marine enclosure and privatization; political ecology; local and traditional knowledge; science and technology studies; subsistence, mixed and alternative economies; and socioeconomical change.
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.
Back to Top