Harvest History of Belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Mahoney, Barbara A. and Shelden, Kim E. W. (2000) Harvest History of Belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Marine Fisheries Review, 62(3), pp. 124-133.

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Belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, in Cook Inlet, Alaska, represent a unique and isolated marine mammal population that has been hunted for a variety of purposes since prehistoric times. Archeological studies have shown that both Alutiiq Eskimos and Dena'ina Atabaskan Indians have long utilized many marine resources in Cook Inlet, including belugas. Over the past century, commercial whaling and sport hunting also occurred periodically in Cook Inlet prior to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA). During the 1990's, the hunting mortality by Alaska Natives apparently increased to 40-70 whales per year, which led to the decling of this stock and its subsequent designation in 2000 as depleted under the MMPA. Concerns about the decline of the Cook Inlet stock resulted in a voluntary suspension of the subsistenc hunt by Alaska Natives in 1999. The difficulty in obtaining accurate estimates for the harvest of these whales is due to the inability to identify all of the hunters and, in turn, the size of the harvest. Attempts to reconstruct harvest records based on hunters' recollections and interviews from only a few households have been subject to a wide degree of speculation. To adequately monitor the beluga harvest, the National Marine Fisheries Service established marking and reporting regulations in October 1999. These rules require that Alaska Natives who hunt belugas in Cook Inlet must collect the lowere left jaw from harvested whales and complete a report that includes date and time of the harvest, coloration of the whale, harvest location, and method of harvest. The MMPA was amended in 2000 to require a cooperative agreement between the National Marine Fisheries Service and Alaska Native organizations before hunting could be resumed.

Item Type: Article
Title: Harvest History of Belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, in Cook Inlet, Alaska
Personal Creator/Author:
Mahoney, Barbara A.
Shelden, Kim E. W.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 62
Number: 3
Page Range: pp. 124-133
Date: 2000
ISSN: 0090-1830
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Item ID: 9775
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2012 20:21
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 20:21
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/9775

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