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OSM Staff Report to: Federal Subsistence Board available regarding Admiralty Island Monument Fishery

Juneau, Alaska – A staff report, prepared by personnel from the Departments of Interior and Agriculture through the Office of Subsistence Management (OSM), has been released in response to a petition filed by Kootznoowoo, Inc., Angoon’s ANCSA Corporation, in May of 2010. The petition requested Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Regional Forester Beth Pendleton recognize its settlement rights and the subsistence priority that exists with respect to sockeye being intercepted by the industrial seine fleet while returning to Angoon, Alaska. The report and its findings will be discussed at upcoming hearings, scheduled to occur during the Federal Subsistence Board and Southeast Regional Advisory Council meetings March 20-23, 2012 in Juneau, AK.

In October 2009, Department of Interior Secretary Salazar said the subsistence system was “broken” and …“we believe it is time to look at where we have been, how we have come to this point, and what we must do to live up to our obligations under the law” as he called for a full review of subsistence. “A fundamental premise will be that we can no longer expect the State to regain subsistence management on federal lands. We are here to stay, so we have the obligation to provide the best management system that we possibly can.”

Peter Naoroz, General Manager of Kootznoowoo, says, “This petition will determine how commercial purse seine fishing will be conducted in the future and whether or not Angoon’s priority will be respected as both federal and state law requires.” The petition also addresses means to assure better conservation and resource management practices through recognition of laws specific to Admiralty Island National Monument and the Kootznoowoo Wilderness, said Naoroz. Kootznoowoo Board Chairman Floyd Kookesh sees the issue in a matter of fact way – “We are simply following the rules to protect our way of life – we have everything to lose”.

Chairman Kookesh is calling for help in the form of testimony and financial contributions in order to continue to defend the indigenous right to subsist. “We are calling on all people, Tribes, and communities as Angoon fights for its rights. We see this as one step we must take in order to protect our customary and traditional family values and our identity as Tlingit people from Angoon.”

The OSM report is at - http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/pdf/meetingbooks/board201203/petition.pdf

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