Co-Management of Marine Mammals in Alaska
Alaska Natives have a long history of self-regulation, based on the need to ensure a sustainable take of marine mammals for food and handicrafts. Co-management promotes full and equal participation by Alaska Natives in decisions affecting the subsistence management of marine mammals (to the maximum extent allowed by law) as a tool for conserving marine mammal populations in Alaska.
Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (Public Law 103-238) allows NOAA Fisheries or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish agreements with Alaska Native Organizations (ANOs), including, but not limited to, Alaska Native Tribes and tribally authorized co-management bodies. Individual co-management agreements shall incorporate the spirit and intent of co-management through close cooperation and communication between Federal agencies and the ANOs, hunters and subsistence users. Agreements encourage the exchange of information regarding the conservation, management, and utilization of marine mammals in U.S. waters in and around Alaska.
The best available scientific information, and traditional and contemporary Alaska Native knowledge and wisdom (TKW), are used for decisions regarding Alaska marine mammal co-management, to the extent allowed by law. Existing ethical principles for the conduct of research shall be applied. Under Section 119 agreements, marine mammal stocks should not be permitted to diminish beyond the point at which they cease to fulfill their role in their ecosystem or to levels that won’t allow for sustainable subsistence harvest.
Agreements may involve: 1) Developing marine mammal co-management structures and processes with Federal and State agencies; 2) Monitoring the harvest of marine mammals for subsistence use; 3) Participating in marine mammal research; 4) Collecting and analyzing data on marine mammal populations.
Through Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act Amendments of 1994 (Public Law 103-238) NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are granted authority to enter into cooperative agreements with Alaska Native organizations (ANOs).
Alaska Beluga Whale Committee
- Co-management Agreement for Western Alaska belugas, January 2000 (PDF 8 pages)
- Alaska Beluga Whale Committee
- Beluga whale information
Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
- Cooperative Agreements between NOAA and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission to protect the bowhead whale and the Eskimo culture 1998-present, as amended: 2019, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2008, 2003, 1998
- Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
- Bowhead Whale Subsistence Harvest (brochure), December 2008
Aleut Marine Mammal Commission
- Agreement between the Aleut Marine Mammal Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service for the conservation and management of all marine mammal subsistence species with particular focus on Steller sea lions and harbor seals, November 2006
- Aleut Marine Mammal Commission
- Harbor seals
- Steller sea lions
Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission
- The Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission has not been operational since 2017
- Harbor Seal Co-Management Action Plan between the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service, 2001
- Agreement between the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service, 1999
- Harbor seals
Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council
- Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council was disbanded by unanimous vote of the then CIMMC member Tribes' representatives on 6/20/2012.
Ice Seal Committee
- Ice Seal Management Plan, February 2012
- Agreement between the Ice Seal Committee (ISC) and NMFS for the Co-Management of Alaskan Ice Seal Populations, October 25, 2006
- Ice Seal Committee website (External Link)
- Ice seals: Bearded, Ribbon, Ringed, Spotted
Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals
- Memorandum of Agreement for Negotiation of Marine Mammal Protection Act Section 119 Agreements between the Department of Commerce, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Geological Survey and the Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals.
- Agreement, October 2006
- Agreement, August 1997
- Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals
Traditional Council of St. George Island
- Agreement between the Aleut Community of St. George Island and NMFS for the Steller sea lion and the northern fur seal, 2001
- Aleut Community of St. George Island
- Northern fur seals
Tribal Government of St. Paul
Co-Management Plan for Subsistence Use of Marine Mammals on St. Paul Island, Alaska
- Co-Management Plans: December 2020, August 2020, May 2020
- Agreement between the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island and NMFS for laaqudan (Unangan) or northern fur seal Callorhinus ursinus, qawan (Unangan) or Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus, and isugin (Unangan) or harbor seal Phoca vitulina, 2020. Previous Agreement, 2000
- Aleut Community of St. Paul Tribal Government Ecosystem Conservation Office (External Link)
- Northern fur seals
- Draft "Consultation and Coordination Policy of the U.S. Department of Commerce" for Tribal Consultations, July 2012
- 2005 Consolidated Appropriations (PL 108-447) (Quote on page 459): SEC. 518. Public Law 108-199 is amended in division H, section 161, by inserting "and all Federal agencies" after "Office of Management and Budget".
- 2004 Consolidated Appropriations (PL 108-199) (Quote on page 450): SEC. 161. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order No. 13175.
- Executive Order No. 13175, November 6, 2000: Effective statutory text (codified in notes to 25 U.S.C.A. sect. 450): "The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all Federal agencies shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order No. 13175, November 6, 2000."
- American Indian and Alaska Native Policy, March 1995
- Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal Governments, Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, May 1994
- Tribal Consultations
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