The Ahtna people’s customary and traditional (C&T) way of life remains the cornerstone of everything that our Corporation does. For us, C&T doesn’t just refer to cultural activities like hunting, fishing, trapping and the like; it’s actually the successful continuation of a lifestyle that has existed for thousands of years – a lifestyle that is the foundation of our Corporation’s culture, values and vision.
Although the Ahtna Region is highway-accessible and fairly modernized, our people still practice a C&T lifestyle whenever possible. Our region’s abundance of fish and game and its proximity to major urban centers make it a popular location for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities, so maintaining our lifestyle can be challenging. As a result of this constant influx of outside parties, our people now have to compete more and more for the resources (game, fish and plant life) located on traditional Ahtna lands.
These resources and the cultural practices surrounding them play a significant role in maintaining our C&T way of life and, because of this, we are constantly seeking ways to continue or further that way of life through cultural education programs aimed at future generations of Ahtna; partnerships with local, state and federal agencies; consultation with our region’s tribes, villages and local organizations; and continuous dialogue with our most important constituents – our Elders and shareholders.
C&T News Bulletin
Fishing – Copper River Basin Regulations
2017 UPPER COPPER RIVER KING SALMON FISHERIES RESTRICTIONS RELAXED
Effective June 3, in the Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence fishery the annual limit for king salmon taken by fish wheel is rescinded and the annual limit for king salmon taken by dip net is reinstated to 5 fish. Fish wheels do not need to be closely attended, but must be checked and all fish caught by the fish wheel removed at least once every 10 hours.
Effective June 5, all king salmon sport fisheries in the Upper Copper River drainage will reopen with an annual limit for king salmon over 20 inches of two fish, with no more than one king salmon of the two fish annual limit retained from any individual tributary or the mainstem of the Copper River. The use of bait is allowed in the Copper River mainstem and portions of the Gulkana, Klutina, and Tonsina rivers as described in the 2017 Northern Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary on pages 28-35.
The Copper River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan directs the department to manage the Copper River fisheries to achieve a sustainable escapement goal in the Copper River of 24,000 or more king salmon. On March 6, 2017 the department closed the king salmon sport and personal use fisheries of the Copper River drainage and imposed and reduced the annual limit of king salmon in the subsistence fishery in response to a preseason run forecast of only 29,000 fish and generally poor return strength since 2009. However, greater than expected commercial harvest of king salmon during extremely limited fishing time and restricted area indicates the 2017 run of king salmon may be greater than forecast, providing potential for a harvestable surplus of king salmon above the escapement goal in the Copper River drainage. It is therefore justified to relax the preseason restrictions and provide additional harvest opportunity.
The department will continue to monitor the 2017 Copper River king salmon run as it develops. If indicators of abundance suggest the 2017 run is weaker than current indicators suggest, the department may again take further restrictive action.
Hunting – Community Subsistence Harvest Hunt
- Hunting on Ahtna lands is closed to non-shareholders. Shareholder affiliated persons can hunt if provided with a permit from Ahtna, which are evaluated on a case by case basis. Shareholder affiliated refers to a child or spouse of a shareholder.
- ADF&G online applications for the 2016-2017 season are now closed: www.hunt.alaska.gov
- Questions or concerns about the Community Subsistence Harvest should be directed to Gloria Stickwan, C&T and Environmental Coordinator, at (907) 822-3476.
AITRC Cooperative Management Agreement
The Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission (AITRC), which was established by Ahtna, Inc., Chitina Native Corporation and the 8 federally recognized tribes of the Ahtna region, signed an agreement in 2016 with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy to create a cooperative management demonstration project. The agreement will help maintain the Ahtna people’s customary and traditional hunting practices on Ahtna lands. AITRC is successfully building wildlife management capacity through collaboration and cooperative management programs with state and federal agencies.You can view the press release announcing the Cooperative Management Agreement signing here.
The two videos below detail the struggles of the Ahtna people to maintain their customary & traditional rights under the current system while also presenting a solution that will benefit all Alaskans.
Ahtna Voice of the Elders: A Perspective on the History of the Ahtna People’s Customary & Traditional Practices and the Need for Wildlife Co-Management:
Details of Ahtna’s Tribal Wildlife Co-Management Legislative Proposal: