April 11, 2013 | Volume 43, No. 14

Subsistence surveys start next week

A researcher with the state Division of Subsistence will be in town next week, interviewing residents about their subsistence harvests during the past year.

Door-to-door surveys are part of a Comprehensive Subsistence Harvest Study, last conducted here in 1996.

Meredith Marchioni, a cultural anthropologist for the subsistence division, said the effort starting April 19 will seek to survey harvests by 138 randomly-chosen households in the Haines area. Klukwan is not included.

Interviews take about 45 minutes, on average, and information provided is confidential and anonymous, she said. To take into account yearly variations in harvest, respondents also will be asked how harvests last year compared to ones in previous years, for various species, she said.

“How long it takes depends on how many subsistence activities households participated in and how long they want to talk to us. We always love to hear stories of how people live off the land,” Marchioni said.

The Division of Subsistence was established to scientifically quantify the harvest of wild resources by rural Alaskans to determine amounts necessary for subsistence harvests of each resource.

Information from the survey will be published in a technical report, which becomes a public document that can be used by researchers, resource managers or others. “If there was some question about Dungeness crabs in your area, and are people getting enough, these surveys would show what ‘enough’ would be,” Marchioni said.

Before the final report is issued in June 2014, the survey’s findings will be shared with the community to ensure its data are accurate, Marchioni said. “If people say, ‘Oh, wait, we harvest over there too, we’ll include that before (the final report is published.)”

Marchioni said she’ll be conducting interviews, but may also be assisted by residents receiving training.

The Haines survey is part of a larger project collecting subsistence information in Southeast communities of Hoonah, Angoon, Whale Pass and Hydaburg. For more information on the survey, call 907-465-3617.