Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game completed its first subsistence harvest survey in nearly 30 years for Kodiak’s households earlier this year.
Fish and Game researchers talked to about 270 households on Kodiak’s road system for its survey. They asked about everything from what types of fish people harvest and eat to whether they collect firewood. It took 15 Fish and Game staff and research assistants two months to compile the data. Kodiak’s Sun’aq Tribe and the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge partnered on the project.
The department completed its last survey back in 1993. Jackie Keeting is a subsistence resource specialist with Fish and Game. She said there have been some big changes in what Kodiak households harvest since then.
“Things like crab and clams and other marine invertebrates were a lot more prevalent than they are today, that’s shifted quite a bit,” she said.
The amount of food that households tend to harvest overall has also dropped slightly.
Other things have remained consistent, like a strong local dependence on salmon – Keeting says about 90% of households reported eating wild salmon.
Keeting said this data doesn’t include specifics about individuals; it’s more of a snapshot of how the community uses subsistence resources.
“One of the things it gets utilized for frequently is if community members want to put in a proposal to the Board of Fish or the Board of Game, these are one of the data points that you can use to demonstrate the importance of different resources,” said Keeting.
The department is hosting a public event downtown at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Center for the community to review its initial data on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Keeting says the department completes subsistence surveys in 270 communities across the state every decade.
Fish and Game completed subsistence surveys in the villages of Akhiok, Old Harbor and Larsen Bay in 2019. Researchers plan to gather data from Port Lions and Ouzinkie this winter.