Sweeping changes in federal subsistence hunting and fishing rules are not likely to come from an Alaska review ordered last fall by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
"We found a number of things that could improve the system," said Pat Pourchot, who is heading the review, which is still underway. "Some of those are more than tweaks, but at the same time most would not be what you might call a major overhaul of the system."
Pourchot is special assistant for Alaska affairs to the Department of the Interior, which ordered the review in October.
In announcing the review, Salazar called the program "broken" in a video conference at the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Subsistence rules are long unsettled in Alaska. A ticket charging state Sen. Albert Kookesh for overfishing near his home in Angoon last summer placed the issue in the spotlight.
Since the review began, Pourchot and a staff of four collected 115 written comments and hours of public testimony in a whirlwind trip around the state.
The staff is working on draft recommendations for Salazar's review, and Pourchot said he could get a briefing in the next few weeks.
The federal government manages subsistence uses on more than 60 percent of land within the state.
"I think we found there was some significant, meaningful changes that could be made to improve the federal program," Pourchot said.
The recommendations had been expected early this year but took a few months longer than planned.
Salazar also announced that a new head of the Federal Subsistence Board would be appointed. That process also is still underway.
Issues raised during the review were published into categories on the federal Web site. The department does not plan to make the comments public.
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