Graduation Date

Fall 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Laurie Richmond

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Yvonne Everett

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Michelle Fuller

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


Eulachon and Pacific lamprey fisheries of the Mad River are significant for Indigenous peoples of the region, but they remain data-poor and underfunded even though eulachon is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and Pacific lamprey is recognized as a species of concern by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The lower Mad River and Humboldt Bay region lie in the traditional territory of the Wiyot and are home to Indigenous people who have maintained subsistence eulachon and Pacific lamprey fisheries. This research primarily draws from 13 oral history interviews with local Indigenous people, 18 key informant interviews with experts in relevant fields, and archival research, to understand the historic and current state of eulachon and Pacific lamprey fisheries and the reciprocal socio-ecological relationships between fish, people, and the watershed. Oral histories demonstrate a strong cultural connection to the larger smelt family, including eulachon. Eulachon runs on the Mad and Eel Rivers were observed in the past, but not since the 1960s. Respondents recounted robust Pacific lamprey populations historically, numbers that gradually dwindled. Interviews uncovered important cultural connections to eulachon, Pacific lamprey, and other smelt species through stories of fishing, gathering, eating, and sharing. With their Native foods and resources largely controlled by U.S. governmental agencies, local tribes are persistent in their efforts to protect eulachon and Pacific lamprey. This research reveals how cultural connections to these species remain important, and the need for resource managers to expand research and restoration to include this overlooked river and these fish species.

Citation Style


Simpson, IRB 13-112 Memorandum.pdf (222 kB)
IRB Memorandum

Included in

Oral History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.