ANCHORAGE - The Interior Department said it's taking longer than expected to review management of subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska.
After weeks of visiting villages, federal officials met Thursday in Anchorage with leaders of 10 regional subsistence councils. The Anchorage Daily News reported the councils want more local decision-making and less bureaucracy by state and federal regulators.
The Interior Department's director of Alaska affairs, Kim Elton, said it's not ready to recommend changes. It had expected to make recommendations this week.
"The more we talked to people, the bigger the challenge grew," said Elton. "The expectation that the process could be done more quickly than it has gone was overly optimistic."
Regulating subsistence is complicated because both the state and federal government set separate rules for their own land.
"This is confusing to the subsistence users out on the field because I've seen people not go out and hunt moose because they don't know which law they're going to be under," said Bertrand Adams Sr., chairman of the Southeast advisory group.