Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Subsistence Harvest Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
Analysis of the alternatives for a long-term subsistence harvest of Cook Inlet beluga whales.
NOAA Fisheries proposes to implement a long-term harvest plan to manage subsistence harvest of the Cook Inlet, Alaska, beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). The purpose of this action is twofold:
- to recover the Cook Inlet beluga stock
- to fulfill the Federal Government’s trust responsibility to recognize Alaska Native traditional cultural and nutritional needs for subsistence harvest
Four alternatives are evaluated for a long-term harvest plan where three alternatives allow for a subsistence harvest without preventing or unreasonably delaying the recovery of the stock. NOAA’s proposed action is to implement the plan and, based on periodic population assessments, determine whether a subsistence harvest can be permitted under the terms and conditions of the management plan. Harvests will be controlled by federal regulations and co-management agreements with Native organizations residing in the Cook Inlet region.