With salmon fishing just a few short months away, the Federal Subsistence Board will consider a special action request to limit king salmon harvest in the Kuskokwim drainage to federally qualified subsistence users.
Steven Maxie is the tribal administrator for the Napaskiak Traditional Council, the group that made the request. They are asking for the change because of the anticipated strict king salmon closures.
“Well it will give us hope, all this winter, we are hearing there’s going to be pretty good restrictions, that there won’t be much open opportunity for subsistence fishing for Chinook. It creates hopelessness for the people,” Maxie said.
Federally qualified subsistence users are people who are residents of rural communities and live in a community or area with a customary and traditional use determination. In this case, they must live in the Kuskokwim River fishery management area. Maxie says the people here are the ones whose livelihood depends on king salmon.
“We don’t need people coming in from the big cites or the state coming in to participate because during these conservation measures, we should focus on local people to harvest our Chinook. We’ll share it, but we want to try this,” Maxie said.
The tribe also wants to have what is known as a section 804 analysis, named from the portion of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA that can determine how to restrict the resource further among subsistence users. It depends on three criteria: customary and direct dependence upon king salmon as the mainstay of livelihood, local residency, and the availability of alternative resources.
The proposal will first go to the Yukon Kuskokwim Regional Advisory Council for a recommendation. The Federal Subsistence board can then take up the request. The Office of Subsistence Management is currently analyzing the proposal with partner agencies.
There will be a regional advisory council meeting at 10am on April 7th at Yuut Elitnaurviak to discuss the proposal and a public hearing, at 1pm on April 8th.
The board is also accepting comments.
Fax: (907) 786-3333