Officials: Gulf spill slowing subsistence report in Alaska

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010

ANCHORAGE - A government review of subsistence management in Alaska is being slowed by the Gulf oil spill, a meeting of the Federal Subsistence Board in Anchorage was told.

The Interior Department's director of Alaska affairs, Kim Elton, said Tuesday that demands of dealing with the massive spill aren't the major reason for the delay, but do make it harder to address some of the complicated issues.

KTUU-TV reported that many people who depend on wild food were disappointed to hear the report still isn't finished. It was supposed to be completed by Jan. 1, but the Interior Department now says there's no fixed date for it to be done.

Testimony has been collected from around the state on how to improve Alaska's dual system of state and federal management.

"If you grow up living in or around federal land, it's really important for there to be a good meshing of the two systems. Being a hunter or a fisherman in a dual management system is really tough," said Craig Fleener, the director of the state Division of Subsistence.

The Subsistence Board is meeting in Anchorage this week to decide on more than 100 proposals for hunting and fishing on federal lands across the state.

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