The Federal subsistence regulations are changed through a public process that begins with a call for proposals and culminates in a Federal Subsistence Board meeting, during which the Board acts on proposed changes.
Here is how the process works:
|Step 1 (Jan.–Mar.)||A Proposed Rule is published in the Federal Register. It consists of the existing Federal subsistence regulations for fisheries or wildlife harvest (hunting or trapping) and asks the public to propose changes (proposals) to the existing regulations. The Proposed Rule is issued in January and proposals are accepted for approximately 45 days. The fisheries Proposed Rule is published in even numbered years. The wildlife Proposed Rule is published in odd numbered years.|
|Step 2 (Apr.–May)||Proposals are reviewed by staff and validated to ensure that they fall within the authority of the Federal Subsistence Board. Valid proposals are compiled in a book, which is made available to the public and the tribes for information and comment. The public comment period is usually open for 60 days.|
|Step 3 (Apr.–Aug.)||Proposals are analyzed by federal staff. A draft analysis with preliminary conclusion for each proposal is written, considering received public comments and with input from:
At times subsistence users and others are directly consulted about the implications of the proposals.
|Step 4 (Aug.–Oct.)||The affected Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council(s) reviews the draft proposal analyses at their annual fall meeting. The Council(s) makes recommendations based on its knowledge of the resources and subsistence practices in the area, and testimony received during the meeting. Recommendations are to:
|Step 5 (Jan.)||The Federal Subsistence Board meets to take action on the proposals. During the meeting, the Board reviews the proposal analyses, Council recommendations, and hears public testimony. The Board shall consider the recommendations of the Regional Advisory Councils concerning the taking of fish and wildlife on public lands within their respective regions.
The Board may choose not to follow any Regional Council recommendation which it determines is not supported by substantial evidence, violates recognized principles of fish and wildlife conservation, would be detrimental to the satisfaction of subsistence needs, or in closure situations, for reasons of public safety or administration or to assure the continued viability of a particular fish or wildlife population. If a recommendation is not adopted, the Board shall set forth the factual basis and the reasons for the decision, in writing, in a timely fashion.
The Board can:
|Step 6 (Apr. 1 and Jul. 1)||Proposals adopted by the Board become part of the Final Rule, which is published in the Federal Register. The Final Rule contains the regulations, which are in effect for the next two year period. The fisheries regulations are effective April 1; the wildlife harvest regulations are effective July 1.
A public booklet of the regulations is published and distributed statewide. The booklet includes regulations and other information relevant to the Federal Subsistence Management Program.