• Length:
    6 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–4 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $139 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English
  • Course Type:
    Instructor-led on a course schedule

Prerequisites

None.

About this course

Skip About this course

No wild animal has more profoundly influenced the cultures and well-being of societies in North America than salmon. Salmon and people have been entwined in a relationship for millenia. This six-week course is an exploration and celebration of this relationship, as well as an examination of the current major issues, including habitat alterations, climate change, and management actions currently straining the relationship between salmon and salmon-dependent people. We will put significant emphasis on learning about salmon and people in Alaska, a place containing the last stronghold of pristine salmon ecosystems anywhere.

Students should expect to read, discuss online, and host and facilitate dialogues in their own communities, using their newfound knowledge beyond our virtual classroom. Together we will examine how the biology of salmon roots them in place and in turn serves to shape human societies and ecosystems.

We will learn from Indigenous elders and youth and understand the system of local management that has sustained salmon for generations. Students will compare and contrast traditional Indigenous management with current practices that are focused on maximizing yield, and will learn concepts such as spawner-recruit analysis and escapement goals.

This course is ideal for those interested in careers in natural resource management and will be of interest to anyone with a love for the natural wild world. By the completion of the course students will be informed and empowered to confront the challenges facing the relationships between salmon and salmon-dependent societies in the 21st century.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The connection of salmon biology to place
  • How salmon influence traditional Indigenous and contemporary Western management systems
  • Common threats to salmon populations
  • The complex and interconnected nature of salmon systems in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest
  • The deep connections between Indigenous people and salmon
  • An understanding of traditional sustainable management
  • Diverse opinions across cultures and stakeholders on salmon-related issues
  • An informed view of complex salmon-related issues

Week 1: Our Salmon Connections

An exploration of what salmon mean to you and an opportunity to learn about the relationship of salmon to others in the course and beyond.

Week 2: Indigenous Deep Time Ties

Introduction to traditional Native ties to salmon, including the foundations of sustainable management grounded in the concepts of permission and consent. We will be guided by our Elders in this journey.

Week 3: Western Fishery Management

A survey of the key concepts underpinning current management of salmon, including spawner-recruit analysis, fixed-escapement policies, and the problem of forecasting.

Week 4: Sport and Commercial Fisheries

Learn about those that live to fish and fish to live and the routine tensions that can arise among different user groups.

Week 5: The Four H’s and Climate Change

Did you know that the demise of salmon throughout much of the world are linked to the same four causes? We will learn about these causes and discuss the mounting challenge of climate change and global warming facing salmon populations.

Week 6: The Future of Salmon and People

Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. In the final week we look forward to what might be in store for salmon and salmon-dependent societies. Will the choices we make be full of humility or hubris?

Meet your instructors

Peter Westley
Associate Professor of Fisheries
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain
$139 USD

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally

Learner testimonials

"You get different people's perspectives and connections with salmon. I highly recommend this course if you view salmon as more than 'food'." -Nina Vizcarrondo, former student