Alaska to change subsistence hunting requirements


Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles proposed a constitutional amendment last week that would create a rural subsistence priority system, giving secondary priority to qualified urban Alaskans.

In times of shortage, priority for hunting and fishing would be given to rural residents who live closest to the resource.

But the proposed measure would create a second tier of priority among urban residents with a “customary and traditional” subsistence use of fish and game.

This could take in urban non-natives with family hunting and fishing traditions, as well as natives in traditional communities surrounded by urban growth.

“The legislature may grant lower priorities for subsistence uses to other residents of the state who demonstrate customary and traditional use of a fish, wildlife, or other renewable resource. These priorities may be granted so long as they do not diminish the subsistence priority of rural residents of the state,” the proposed amendment reads.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, many Alaskan natives support the current subsistence regime, in which rural residents have hunting and fishing priority on federal lands.

If there are any changes, native leaders say they want the same protections. Among their concerns is absence of any guaranteed role for tribes in co-managing fish and wildlife resources.

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