The Great Debate on the Great Lakes: How Value Systems around Aquaculture Influence Public Policy

The Great Debate on the Great Lakes: How Value Systems around Aquaculture Influence Public Policy

Betsy Riley, William W. Taylor, Marc Gaden, & Nancy Leonard

The Great Lakes are caught between two opposing international policies, one allowing aquaculture on its waters, and one prohibiting it. This research seeks to understand the political environments within the Great Lakes basin to explain what has made the United States and Canada come to different decisions on this issue. This research uses government resource allocations of funding as proxies for societal values in order to track where fisheries policy has been valued historically in terms of its commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing and compare this to government funding supporting aquaculture initiatives. This allocation data was compiled and analyzed in coordination with historical data on how current Great Lakes governance institutions have evolved to meet changing circumstances, in order to allow estimates of long term trends in the region. Extrapolations were then made with regards to resource allocation use in potential future scenarios of changing values among political constituents, including water scarcity, the demands of increasing population, and large-scale ecological changes such as damage from invasive species and pollution.

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