A Low-Profile Subsistence Fishery: Pike Fishing in Minto Flats, Alaska


  • Elizabeth F. Andrews




Fish management, Fisheries, Fishing, Northern pike, Subsistence, Minto region, Alaska


Subsistence research in contemporary communities in rural Alaska is revealing the important contribution of fish species other than salmon to the food supply, yet the subsistence use of non-salmon species has had a low profile in management and regulatory regimes of the fisheries in Alaska. Management concerns arose when a developing northern pike (Esox lucius) sport fishery occurred in an area with preexisting subsistence uses of pike stocks. The Minto Flats subsistence pike fishery has been part of Minto village's subsistence economy throughout the century, whereas sport fishing for pike in Minto Flats is comparatively recent, coinciding with the growth of the nearby regional center of Fairbanks. The identification of a preexisting subsistence fishery combined with field research to record harvest levels, geographic areas used, and seasonality of harvest contributed to a management plan that enabled conservation and harvest of the resource. Knowledge about the subsistence fishery allowed regulations to be established that provided for compatible uses of the pike fishery by subsistence and sport fishermen by segregating the fisheries in time and place and employing standard management tools.

Key words: subsistence fisheries, food fisheries, sport fisheries, northern pike, Esox lucius, fisheries management, Alaska