6.3.4 Sand Point

6.3.4 Sand Point

A. Sand Point Sample Profile (n=18)

In Sand Point, interviews occurred between May 2008 and October 2008. The sample was slightly younger with 56% between the ages of 18 and 35 (see Table 2). Again, the sample was predominately male (61%). Participants who have spent more than two decades in the community comprised a majority of the sample (84%) (see Table 13) and most have harvested in the area for 11 or more years (78%), (see Table 14). At the time of the interview 37% report being unemployed.

Table 13. Years of residence in the community (n=18)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 6-10 years  3  17%
 21-30 years  5  28%
 More than 30 years  10  56%
 Total    18    


Table 14. Years hunted/fished in the area (n=18)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  1  6%
 6-10 years  3  17%
 11-20 years  7  39%
 21-30 years  1  6%
 More than 30 years  6  33%
 Total    18  

B. Observed Changes in Environmental Conditions (n=18)

When respondents were asked specifically about any changes observed at the location of the previous hunting/ fishing trip 33% indicated that they had observed some type of change within the previous 5 to 10 years.

The survey also queried about changes in specific environmental conditions during the previous 10 to 25 years. Changes in storms and snow conditions were most frequently noticed (61%), followed closely by observed changes in water temperature (56%) and wind velocity (56%) (see Figure 22).

Observed changes in storms included increased frequency (33%) and increased strength (22%).

  • “Storms are warmed and more intense over a span of years.”
  • “Storms are worse in the past 5 years.”
  • “[During storms] there’s more wind. It seems like it blows hard for longer periods of time.”
  • “More storms towards the end of the season this year. Summer was late this year.”
  • “More rain and more storms these last couple of years, it seems like.”

Snowfall was reported to be occurring earlier in the year (33%). More snow was reported by 28%, while 11% believed there was less snow. There was lack of consensus as to how water temperature was changing with 11% saying it is warmer and 33% saying it had become colder.

A majority (89%) of those who noted a change in wind velocity believed that it had increased in strength.

  • “There’s more wind. It blows harder for longer periods of time, it seems like.”
  • “There are higher winds for longer times.” Other unusual sightings included more alder, less seals, more krill (and whales associated with the krill) and humpback whales staying in the area longer than usual and even mating there (this usually occurs in warmer waters to the south).
  • “Greater abundance of krill and whales than in previous years. Noticed this happening around the turn of the century (21st century). Whales are sticking around longer and not leaving for the winter.”
  • “Humpbacked whales mating. Never heard of that happening at these locations before. I even asked ‘old timers’, and none of them had heard of it either, if that tells you something. There are way more whales than when I was a kid. And some aren’t even leaving for the winter.”
  • “There are less seals out there now. You used to be able to take 2 shells (shotgun shells) with you and get 2 seals, and now you have to take a whole box of shells and you’re lucky to get 2 seals. They seem to be a lot more skittish. You can’t get close to them anymore.”

For those harvesting salmon (n=11), a majority (6) believed the run was later than usual, while 3 respondents believed it was the same as in previous years; 2 had difficulty answering the question (see Figure 23).

C. Abundance and Quality of Subsistence Resource (n=19)

In Sand Point, all participants harvested fish, and a majority (58%) harvested salmon (see Table 15).

Table 15. Distribution of species harvested (n=19)

 Species    Frequency    Percent  
 Salmon  6  32%
 Halibut  5  26%
 Red salmon  5  26%
 Cod  2  11%
 Clams  1  5%
 Total    19    

In responses to open-ended questions, 27% of those harvesting salmon reported there were less salmon and 20% reported there were less halibut available. Two participants reported more pink salmon (a lower commercial value salmon). One participant elaborated discussing how the ratio of red salmon to pink salmon had changed.

  • “More pinks in the last 2-3 years. Never used to catch so many pinks here. The reds haven’t changed, just the pinks. It is a 60-70% pink ratio now. It used to be a steady 40% pink ratio.”

There were three reports (16%) of catches that included at least one fish with visible disease. In all cases the percentage reported of the catch with visible disease was very small (<1%) or not quantifiable. Locations of the previous harvest were described as reliable by 90% of participants and 68% planned on returning to the same location on the next trip to harvest for the same species. However, the reliability of these locations seems to be limited in that 95% reported that they could not estimate how much they would catch on their next trip.