Alaska Harbor Seal Co-Management Action Plan 2001
Co-Management Action Plan
In April 1999, an Agreement was signed between the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission and NOAA Fisheries. The primary goals of that Agreement are the following:
- To promote the sustained health of harbor seals in order to protect the culture and way of life of Alaska Natives who rely on the harvest of harbor seals for subsistence uses;
- To promote scientific research and the collection of data, including the traditional knowledge of Alaska Natives, in order to facilitate management decisions concerning harbor seals in Alaska;
- To identify and resolve, as early as possible, through a consultative process, any management conflicts that may arise associated with Alaska harbor seals; and
- To provide information to subsistence hunters and the public at large, as a means of increasing the understanding of the sustainable use, management, and conservation of harbor seals.
The Agreement established a Harbor Seal Co-management Committee made up of ANHSC and NOAA Fisheries representatives that are charged with preparing and updating an Annual Action Plan. A key to the success of this partnership is to incorporate the spirit and intent of comanagement by building trust and by establishing close cooperation and communication between the two Parties and their constituents. Shared decision-making is through consensus, based on mutual respect and understanding of each Party's cultural perspective.
The Annual Action Plan will be the guiding document for joint and separate management actions by the ANHSC and NOAA Fisheries related to the conservation and management of subsistence uses of harbor seals. In developing and revising the Annual Action Plan, the Committee shall consider technical and non-technical information as it deems appropriate. The Action Plan describes relevant information, specifies mutually agreed upon actions to be implemented by NOAA Fisheries and the ANHSC, and sets forth recommendations for additional activities that promote harbor seal conservation. The Action Plan will be evaluated and updated on an annual basis. The Action Plan will be comprised of the following five sections: 1) population monitoring, 2) harvest management, 3) education, 4) research recommendations, and 5) other recommendations.
A Harbor Seal Co-management Workshop was held September 25-26, 2000 in Juneau, Alaska. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together scientists, hunters, elders, and other technical experts in the areas of population monitoring, harvest management, and education to share their perspectives on ·the current state of knowledge in their respective fields and to identify information gaps or needs directed at harbor seal conservation. A half day was dedicated to a discussion on each subject area. Individual points made during those discussions were consolidated by the Co-management Committee to form the basis of this first Action Plan.
The Harbor Seal Co-management Agreement specifies that the Action Plan will provide 1) a summary of recent progress and new information and 2) an outline of future goals and activities. The Co-management Committee has agreed to focus for this first Action Plan on a discussion of future goals and activities directed at harbor seal conservation.
The Action Plan presents, for each subject area, the issue of concern, input received from the workshop participants on each issue, the actions that will be taken or are proposed to satisfy the issue, with an indication of who will take the lead responsibilities for the action. The time frame for this Action Plan is the twelve months succeeding the workshop (October 2000 to September 2001).