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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Copper River
Subsistence fishing research

Studies undertaken by the Division of Subsistence in the Copper Basin during the 1980s and 1990s documented the harvest and use of salmon by Copper Basin residents. These studies demonstrated both the historical and contemporary importance of salmon to the economy and culture of the basin. The Division has also conducted research to document the harvest of use of non-salmon fish species. Whitefish, grayling, trout and burbot were important to the traditional economy of the Ahtna. More recently the Division has documented Ahtna traditional knowledge of salmon. As long term salmon fishers the Ahtna have developed a sophisticated taxonomy of salmon and other fish; observation on the life history of salmon; methods for harvesting and preparing salmon; oral traditions about salmon, and a system of self regulation.

Image: Ahtna names for salmon found in the Copper River.

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