Protecting Marine Life in Alaska

The Protected Resources Division works to conserve and recover marine mammals - like whales and seals - in close coordination with the State of Alaska and other partners. 


Humpback whales bubble net feeding. Photo: Joe McCabe

To manage protected marine species, as required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and Fur Seal Act, the Alaska Region:

  • Advances recovery of threatened and endangered species, including Cook Inlet beluga whales, North Pacific right whales, bowhead whales, western Steller sea lions, and Arctic ringed seals;
  • Works to minimize interactions between marine mammals and commercial fisheries;
  • Promotes responsible practices for marine mammal viewing;
  • Advances conservation of marine mammals, including whales, seals, and sea lions;
  • Coordinates response to stranded or entangled marine mammals through the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network;
  • Consults with federal agencies to minimize the effects of proposed actions - like coastal construction - on threatened and endangered species;
  • Cooperatively manages subsistence use of marine mammals through co-management agreements with Alaska Native organizations; and
  • Conducts reviews to determine if species warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, or if ESA-listed species no longer need protection.

Species Managed




Endangered Species Act (ESA) Resources

ESA Species

Non-Marine Mammals Reviewed for ESA Listing

Related Information



Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Consultations in Alaska

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Alaska Endangered Species and Critical Habitat Mapper Web Application

The ESA species Mapper allows you to: identify which cetaceans and pinnipeds may occur in any location in the Alaska Exclusive Economic Zone; map…


Alaska Marine Mammal Viewing Guidelines and Regulations Booklet

Federal laws protecting wildlife, Alaska humpback whale approach regulations, viewing guidelines for sea lions, harbor seals and northern fur seals,…



Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Research Methods Workshop Report

Given the Cook Inlet beluga whale's (CIB's) lack of recovery and the lack of a clear explanation for CIB’s continued decline, it is likely…


Alaska and British Columbia 2015 Large Whale Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Summary Report

Between May 22 and June 17, 2015, 12 finback whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were observed stranded around Kodiak Island and the western Gulf of…


Environmental Impact Statement for Issuing Annual Catch Limits to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission for a Subsistence Hunt on Bowhead Whales for the Years 2019 and Beyond

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to issue annual catch limits to…

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on March 10, 2020

Protected Species Marine Mammals