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Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young Wednesday joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council (AMBCC) to announce new guidance to implement the federal duck stamp exemption he ushered into law during the 113th Congress for subsistence hunters in rural Alaska.
“Today, I’m proud to announce the release of implementation guidance by the USFWS for the federal duck stamp exemption for subsistence hunters in rural Alaska,” said Congressman Don Young. “I worked very hard on this exemption with the help of a lot of Alaskans. I passed this as an amendment to the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 and it was signed into law on December 18, 2014. This will give Alaskan rural subsistence hunters an exemption from purchasing the federal duck stamp. I’m glad the USFWS was able to quickly develop regulations in time for the spring duck season so Alaskan subsistence hunters won’t be required to purchase the 2015 Duck Stamp. This is a major victory for rural Alaska, and I’m quite proud of it.”
In a bulletin released Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its interim policy to implement Congressman Young’s provision within the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, which exempts qualified subsistence hunters in Alaska from purchasing the Federal Duck Stamp.
“The congressional action was the result of leadership from the Alaska delegation in recognition of the importance of subsistence in the lives of Alaska Native peoples and other qualifying Alaskans,” the USFWS release said. “The exemption from carrying the Federal Duck Stamp while hunting does not relieve qualified hunters from the requirement to purchase and possess state hunting licenses and stamps and abide by all other applicable federal and state laws. The Service will continue to work with Alaska Native peoples and other qualified subsistence hunters to ensure opportunities for subsistence hunting are available and sustainable.”
The interim policy becomes effective immediately according to the USFWS and will remain operational until June 1, 2017. The USFWS says it will now “work to develop regulations to implement the exemption on a permanent basis. Such regulations will go through an open process including the opportunity for public review and comment.”
The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council (AMBCC), made up of the USFWS, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and representatives from across the state, will announce the policy change Wednesday in Anchorage at their annual Spring Meeting at the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association at 1131 E International Airport Rd. The event is open to the media.