PETERSBURG, Alaska -

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has clarified rules defining how sea otter hides can be used for clothing and handicrafts.

Radio station KFSK reports changes were made to give people a better definition of the requirement that pelts be "significantly altered" to be considered authentic Alaska Native handicrafts or clothing that can be sold to non-Natives.

The new guidelines say a hide is significantly altered when it's not recognizable as a whole hide and has been made into handicrafts or clothing.

Sealaska Heritage Institute chief operating officer Lee Kadinger says the new wording needs adjustment but is appreciated.

Kadinger says the wording clarifies a term that has caused significant harm to artisans.

Some Native artisans have said past regulatory language and aggressive enforcement discouraged use of sea otter pelts.