The Federal Subsistence Management Program is a multi-agency effort to provide the opportunity for a subsistence way of life by rural Alaskans on federal public lands and waters while maintaining healthy populations of fish and wildlife. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), passed by Congress in 1980, mandates that rural residents of Alaska be given a priority for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife. The Federal government manages subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska - about 230 million acres or 60 percent of the land within the state.
The program provides for public participation through the Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) and 10 Regional Advisory Councils (RACs). The FSB is the decision-making body that oversees the program. It is made up of the regional directors of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Forest Service. A representative appointed by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture serves as Board Chair. RACs provide recommendations and information to the FSB; review proposed regulations, policies and management plans; and provide a public forum for subsistence issues. Each Council consists of residents who are knowledgeable about subsistence and other uses of fish and wildlife resources in their region.
KRSA participates in the public process through review and comment of proposed regulations, policies and management plans. Currently the Kenai Peninsula has three communities that qualify as rural - Cooper Landing, Hope and Ninilchik. Residents of these communities have a priority for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on Federal lands on the Kenai Peninsula, which includes the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the Chugach National Forest.
KRSA monitors that subsistence fisheries are prescribed in a manner to ensure the health of fish populations. Subsistence fisheries on the peninsula include the Federal waters of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. With a focus on salmon, subsistence harvests are predominately sockeye. Currently, priority uses in the subsistence fisheries include double the daily bag limits for rod and reel, dipnet fisheries and an experimental fish wheel.
The primary fishery conservation issue deals with subsistence methods and means being prosecuted in a selective manner to address conservation concerns with trout species and "weak" stock salmon runs, such as early run Kenai Chinook.