Subsistence rally to coincide with NPFMC, AK BOF meeting

by Sophie Evan on June 5, 2013

Bethel Subsistence Rally Signs   photo by M. Pavilla

Bethel Subsistence Rally Signs photo by M. Pavilla

A subsistence rally will be held in Juneau on Wednesday June 12th. The march is scheduled to start from the waterfront to where the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, or N-P-F-M-C, is meeting at the Centennial Hall in Juneau.

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The subsistence rally is organized by Alaska Native organizations, and are calling it “Idle No More,” a theme borrowed from the Canadian First Nation’s People, as they brought attention to broken treaties, and fought against industrial oil and mining interests on their Canadian homelands.

Organizers for the Idle No More subsistence rally say the rate of fishery extraction in the Bering Sea has a direct and negative impact on the Indigenous people who depend on the Bering Sea’s marine life for subsistence.

The Alaska Board of Fish and the N-P-F-M-C will hold a joint meeting, on June 12th, to talk policy and regulations that has direct impact to the Alaska Native people’s subsistence way of life. Organizers for the Idle No More rally say there are many variables like climate change, and predation, that contribute to the decline of salmon stocks, they say however, that the by-catch of salmon by trawlers can be controlled, and that is what they’re hoping the N-P-F-M-C will act on.

The Bering Sea Aleutian Island Pollock fishery is reported to average 80-thousand Chinook as by-catch every year since 2007.

The Alaska Native Community has one lone voting representative on the 15-member Federal fisheries council; Eric Olson is from the Bristol Bay region. Olson is also reported to be employed by a Community Development Quota Group, Kwigpak Fisheries.

Organizers for the subsistence rally say the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Conservation Act is up for re-authorization this year.

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