Southeast rural hunters and fishers could see changes to moose, deer and wolf hunts with decisions made this week as the Southeast Alaska Subsistence Advisory Council (SEASRAC) convenes in Juneau.
The council will vote on 11 regional proposals, including whether or not to raise the level of wolves harvested on Prince of Wales Island from 20 to 30 percent of population estimates.
In 2015, the Alexander Archipelago wolf was considered for the Endangered Species List after populations had declined 60 percent in one year on Prince of Wales Island. The listing was denied and wolf populations have since rebounded in the POW area, leading some to call for an increase in harvest levels.
All six written public comments oppose the increase of subsistence wolf harvests.
SEASRAC provides a forum for regional subsistence issues, facilitates public involvement and makes recommendations to the Federal Subsistence Board on regulatory proposals. It’s one of 10 regional advisory councils in Alaska. Ten of the 13 board members represent subsistence user groups while three represent commercial and sport fishing and hunting interests.
Both the council and the board are part of the Federal Subsistence Management Program (FSMP), which administers the subsistence harvest of fish and wildlife by rural Alaskans on the state’s 230 million acres of federal public lands. Put another way, while the Alaska Department of Fish &Game regulates hunting and fishing for all Alaskans, the FSMP regulates hunting and fishing for federally qualified subsistence users, or those who live in areas FSMP designates as rural. Outside of the Juneau and Ketchikan areas, the rest of Southeast Alaska qualifies as rural.
The council will also consider proposals to create a subsistence hunt for moose in Berners Bay, reduce annual harvest limits in Unit 2 (Prince of Wales Island) and lengthen hunting and trapping seasons for wolves in Unit 3. A full list of proposals can be found in the council’s meeting packet on the Department of Interior website.
• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.