by Akiak Native Community
This is a letter to the Office of Subsistence Management Subsistence Policy Coordinator sent by the Akiak Native Community, dated May 23rd, 2018.
Akiak Native Community submits a Request for Reconsideration (RFR) concerning the Federal Subsistence Board’s (Board) approval of Temporary Special Action Request FSA 18-01 with modification.
Delegating 2018 management authority of Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) ignore the duties and responsibilities set forth in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Section 803 define the term “subsistence uses” to mean “customary and traditional uses by rural Alaska residents” (ANILCA §803).
Section 802(2) requires that “non-wasteful subsistence uses of fish and wildlife … shall be the priority of consumptive uses … when it is necessary to restrict taking in order to assure the continued viability of fish and wildlife populations or the continuation of subsistence uses” (ANILCA §802(2)).
ADF&G projects that the run and harvest outlook for Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon for 2018 will be “poor”. ADF&G also projects that subsistence opportunities for Chinook salmon will be “limited.” It should be noted that the model ADF&G employed to make these projections was reviewed by the Kuskokwim River Interagency Model Development Team.
A “poor” projected run and harvest outlook should trigger the responsibility of the Board to restrict the taking of Chinook salmon for subsistence uses on public lands of Alaska per the responsibilities set forth in Section 802 of ANILCA.
Failing to first restrict Chinook salmon harvest to federally-qualified subsistence users foregoes the Board’s additional responsibility to restrict within subsistence users when necessary (ANILCA §804).
The Board’s decision adversely affects Akiak Native Community by limiting our ability to practice our culture and customary and traditional harvest of Chinook salmon. Congress recognizes that the continued opportunity for subsistence by Alaska Natives is “essential to Native physical, economic, traditional. and cultural existence” (ANILCA §801(1)).
The Board’s decision also undermines the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s (KRlTFC) and United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2015 agreement to negotiate for the purpose of reaching consensus on Kuskokwim River fisheries issues, and when necessary, negotiating to reach a mutually-beneficial compromise. No such obligation exists for the State to negotiate with the KRlTFC because ADF&G is not party to the agreement.
Akiak Native Community requests that the Board reconsider its adoption of FSA18-01 with modification. Respectfully submitted…
Ivan M. Ivan, Chief
Akiak Native Community