Record of Decision
Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Subsistence Harvest Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (2008)
The purpose of this action is to promote the recovery of this depleted beluga whale stock, while allowing for a limited subsistence harvest by Alaska Natives when consistent with achieving the recovery goal of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended. Following a significant decline in Cook Inlet beluga whale abundance estimates between 1994 and 1998, the Federal Government took a number of actions to prevent further declines in the abundance of these whales. In accordance with Public Laws 106-31 (1999) and 106-553 (2000), the annual subsistence harvest of Cook Inlet beluga whales is allowed only under cooperative management agreements between NOAA Fisheries and affected Alaska Native organizations. In the same years, NOAA Fisheries published proposed and final rules designating the stock as depleted under the MMPA.