January 01, 2015

Living with Wildlife: Regulating Subsistence Hunting and Fishing in Alaska

Emily Bergeron

In Alaska, diverse and abundant wildlife species inhabit the state’s varied landscapes. The waters teem with fish, including salmon, Pacific Halibut, Pacific herring, and whitefish, as well as marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and walruses. Deer, bears, Dall sheep, mountain goats, and beavers populate the terrain. In this “last frontier,” subsistence is a way of life; all of these species are commonly harvested for food. An estimated 36.2 million pounds of wild food is taken annually by rural subsistence users. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Subsistence in Alaska: A Year 2012 Update (2014). To some residents, however, the word “subsistence” means much more than meeting the basic needs for survival.

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