Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2023

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ecology and Environmental Sciences


Bridie McGreavy and Anthony Sutton

Second Committee Member

Christine Beitl

Third Committee Member

Jessica Jansujwicz

Additional Committee Members

Lauren Ross


Small-scale, co-managed fisheries are found throughout the world and often represent intertwining cultures, societies, communities, economies, institutions, and governments. They face complex issues, derived from ecological and social sources. Solving these issues requires diverse expertise, often developed through engaged methodologies which can facilitate collaborative solution creation between researchers, community members, and others. In this dissertation, I demonstrate the benefits of these engaged methodologies and review how they, when coupled with anticolonial approaches to research, can create more equitable solutions to complex issues. This dissertation focuses on multiple projects within the wild clam fishery in Maine including: (1) the creation of a learning network that could improve communication among individual communities, and (2) the use of boundary objects to develop oceanographic models and support adaptive policy related to restoration efforts. Additionally, this dissertation addresses how colonial ideologies impact these efforts and how recursive, reflective, and collaborative methods may provide one way to destabilize these ideologies. As such, this dissertation is organized into five chapters. First, I introduce sustainability science, knowledge weaving, and the wild clam fishery as a unique case for studying co-managed fisheries facing complex issues. In the second chapter, I describe a comparative case study of four research frameworks related to fisheries science, and how they impact, shape, and support Indigenous sovereignty. Next, I describe the Maine Shellfish Learning Network, an organization developed by my advisors, myself, and other collaborators with the goal of creating new spaces for communication between communities and other related institutions. In the fourth chapter, I describe boundary object projects which influenced community-level adaptive capacities. In the final chapter, I present my conclusions. It is hoped the results from this research will inspire other institutions and industries to engage and reflect on similar choice making.