Changes in harvest
ChangesHarvesting natural resources continues to be a key feature of traditional lifestyles and economies across the Arctic. In Alaska, subsistence harvest accounts for a small proportion (about 2–3%) of the total fish and wildlife harvest, compared with 97% taken by commercial fisheries. While no systematic statewide survey of the status of subsistence harvests has been conducted, there are indications that subsistence harvests by rural Alaskans are declining across space and time. Development impacts, environmental and ecological changes, socio-economic changes, changing tastes, in- and out-migration, and harvests by competing user groups likely all adversely affect subsistence harvests. In Canada, up to 60% of residents in small communities in the Northwest Territories rely on traditional/ country food for the majority of their meat and fish. This percentage has remained largely unchanged over the last ten years. By comparison, subsistence harvesting in the Russian Arctic has been affected by the widespread socio-economic changes following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The overall area where natural resources are harvested has been reduced, although subsistence consumption around indigenous communities has increased. Illegal harvesting and trade in valuable species also increased as law enforcement declined, leading to localized depletion of some resources.