Environmental Assessment for Issuing Annual Quotas to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission for a Subsistence Hunt on Bowhead Whales for the Years 2003 through 2007
Analysis of issuing annual quotas to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission for a subsistence hunt for bowhead whales
NOAA Fisheries proposes to issue annual quotas to the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) to allow continuation of their subsistence hunt for bowhead whales from the Western Arctic stock for the years 2003 through 2007. NOAA Fisheries’ objective is to accommodate Federal trust responsibilities by recognizing the cultural and subsistence needs of Alaskan Natives, to the fullest extent possible consistent with applicable law, and to ensure that any aboriginal subsistence hunt of whales does not adversely effect the conservation of the Western Arctic bowhead whale stock.
This Environmental Assessment (EA), prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), considers four alternatives for issuance to the AEWC of a share of the quota approved by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), including a no action alternative. The proposed action would comply with NOAA Fisheries’ responsibilities under section 101(b) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and responsibilities under the auspices of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) by granting the AEWC an IWC quota for bowhead whales for nutritional and subsistence purposes, with limits that conserve the Western Arctic bowhead whale stock.