Another long-term issue is environmental stewardship. The CDQ program as currently structured is, in large part, about economic development, but economic sustainability is dependent upon long-term assurance of a sound resource base—the fisheries. Thus, to be successful over the long-term the CDQ program will need to give more emphasis to environmental considerations.
While this report reviews the CDQ program in a broad way, there remains a need for periodic, detailed review of the program over the long term (perhaps every five years), most likely conducted by the State of Alaska. Such a review should look in detail at what each group has accomplished—the nature and extent of the benefits and how all funds were used. For a program like this, care must be taken not to use strictly financial evaluations of success. Annual profits gained from harvest and numbers of local people trained are valuable measures, but they must be seen within the full context of the program. It is a program that addresses far less tangible elements of "sustainability," including a sense of place and optimism for the future.
LESSONS FOR OTHER REGIONS
What emerges from a review of the western Alaska CDQ program is an appreciation that this program is an example of a broad concept adapted to very particular circumstances. Others interested in the application of CDQ-style programs are likely to have different aspirations and different contexts. Wholesale importation of the Alaska CDQ program to other locales is likely to be unsuccessful unless the local context and goals are similar.
One region where the expansion of the CDQ concept has been considered is in the Western Pacific, but such an expansion would need to be approached cautiously because the setting and communities are very different. The major differences between the fisheries and communities of the two regions are: the general lack of management by quota or total allowable catch (TAC) in the Western Pacific; the pelagic nature of the valuable fisheries in the region; and the lack of clear, geographically definable "native" communities in most parts of the region. Application of the CDQ program to the Western Pacific would require the Western Pacific council to define realistic goals that fit within Council purposes and plans. Definitions of eligible communities would need to be crafted carefully so the potential benefits accrue in an equitable fashion to native fishermen.
Any new program, especially one with the complex goal of community development, should be expected to have a start-up period marked by some problems. During this early phase, special attention should be given to working out clear goals, defining eligible participants and intended benefits, setting appropriate duration, and establishing rules for participation. There should be real efforts to communicate the nature and scope of the program to the residents of any participating communities, and to bring state and national managers to the villages to facilitate a two-way flow of information. In addition to these operational concerns, those involved—the residents and their representatives—must develop a long-term vision and coherent sense of purpose to guide their activities.
NOTE: The Committee to Review Individual Fishing Quotas did not have an opportunity to discuss the findings and recommendations of the CDQ report.