Subsistence regulations

Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2003

Thanks for your article on the cover of the July 13 Outdoors section, "Subsistence fishing not just for Alaska Natives." Most of the information in the article was helpful and informative, although some was dated.

Since federal management of subsistence under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) started in the 1990s, Alaskans have participated in subsistence hunting and fishing under state and federal regulations.

Only residents of rural Alaska communities are eligible to participate in hunts and fisheries regulated by the Federal Subsistence Board under ANILCA.

In contrast, all Alaska residents are eligible to participate in subsistence hunts and fisheries regulated by the state of Alaska, but these hunts and fisheries are located away from urban areas. In addition, not all who are eligible under state regulations may qualify to participate, as the state sometimes must restrict the number of users to protect limited resources (through the Tier II process).

Also, state and federal subsistence gear and bag limits often differ. For example, any rural Alaskan can use a rod and reel to subsistence fish on waters under federal jurisdiction in Alaska. The state prohibits subsistence fishing with rod and reel in all but a few areas under its jurisdiction.

Subsistence halibut fishing is regulated by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, not the Federal Subsistence Board or the state of Alaska. Similarly, subsistence harvests of marine mammals and migratory birds are governed by their own sections of federal law and regulated by separate authorities.

Management by state and federal governments complicates Alaska's subsistence picture, but help understanding these programs is available. United Fishermen of Alaska's Subsistence Outreach Program has established a Web site and other information that explains subsistence management in plain language.

For more information, contact UFA Subsistence Outreach at (907) 586-6822 or 1-888-586-6822, or visit The state Division of Subsistence can be reached at (907) 465-4147 or The federal Office of Subsistence Management, based in Anchorage, is at (907) 786-3888 or

Tom Morphet

Subsistence Outreach Coordinator

United Fishermen of Alaska

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