Oct 25, 2009
Obama seeks changes in Alaska hunting, fishing oversight
We’d like to credit two mudpups who helped bring this to our attention, Gramiam and GreatGranny2C, who found this breaking news.
Feds seek to reshape hunting and fishing rules
‘SYSTEM IS BROKEN’: Interior Secretary proposes to revamp oversight of subsistence in Alaska.
By KYLE HOPKINS
Published: October 23rd, 2009 11:03 AM
Last Modified: October 24th, 2009 04:19 PM
The Obama administration is launching a rapid, sweeping review of the way the federal government manages subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska, Interior Department officials said Friday.
“The system, frankly, today is broken,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in a video shown at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in downtown Anchorage.
Subsistence rights — the battle over who gets the first opportunity to hunt and fish on state or federal land — is a headline issue at this year’s convention. For decades, the debate has pitted rural Alaskans and Alaska Natives, who say they hunt and fish to survive, against sports groups and urban hunters and fishermen, who argue everyone should have equal access to fish and game.
The state makes hunting and fishing rules across Alaska. But the feds regulate subsistence on federal lands, creating a confounding, overlapping system.
In contrast to the state Constitution, a 1980 federal law guarantees rural Alaskans priority when it comes to subsistence. Some Alaska Native leaders say the feds haven’t done enough to protect that right, and are proposing a resolution at the convention today that calls for broad changes to subsistence management.
AFN leaders met with Interior officials at least twice in the past four months, outlining some of those requests, said state Sen. Albert Kookesh, an AFN co-chairman who praised Friday’s announcement.