Sun’aq Ethics of Harvesting

Ethical behavior is not mandated by laws or regulations but by an individual’s sense of right and wrong.  Ethics generally covers behaviors that refer to fairness, respect, and responsibility.  The Sun’aq ethics of harvesting are based upon respect:  treating the outdoors, the plants, animal and fish, and each other with respect.

  1. Be smart:  Confirm with local experts, including Tribal elders, that the plant, animal, or fish that you intend to harvest is what you believe it to be.  Sometimes one species can look quite similar to another so you want to make certain of what you are harvesting.
  2. Be intentional:  Harvesting with intent gives you a conscious and sharp focus on your activities which means that before going out you know what you seek to harvest, how to harvest and process it, and how you will share your harvest with others.
  3. Be respectful:  Pursue the gathering of wild resources with an awareness of your surroundings while paying respect to what you’re harvesting, yourself, and others who use the resource.
  4. Be generous:  Share your harvest with others, and share your knowledge about hunting, fishing, and gathering wild resources with others for their own improvement.  While it is illegal to buy, sell, or barter game meat, unprocessed meat and other game parts can be given as gifts.
  5. Be legal: Unless you have permission, it is not okay to hunt, fish, or gather wild foods on private lands, including Alaska Native corporation lands.  If you are fishing or hunting, make sure you are legally licensed and permitted, when permits are required, and are harvesting during designated times and seasons with legal methods and equipment.
  6. Be efficient:   Respect the fish, wildlife, and plants; and the sanctity of the outdoors and the plants and animals. When fishing, keep only as many fish as you are legal allowed and that will be eaten.  When hunting, strive to make every kill a clean one.
  7. Be careful:  Know the limitations of your skills and equipment, and conduct yourself within those limits.
  8. Be clean: Never litter or pollute, clean up after yourself and others, and take meticulous care of what you’ve harvested to avoid waste.  Know how to field dress and care for fish and game harvests before going out to fish or hunt.
  9. Be cautious:  Exercise cautious behavior towards other animals and people.  Maintain a safe distance from others and the wildlife that you are not pursuing.  Be cautious when wading in rivers and lakes to avoid spawning beds, or redds.
  10. Be safe:  Safety for yourself, your companions, and others should be at the forefront of any outdoor activity.  Know your personal limits, stay within them, and exercise caution at all times.