Public comments accepted until July 8
The National Marine Fisheries Service conducted the study of the possible impacts of Makah resuming gray whale hunts, in response to the nation's request for a waiver of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is accepting public comment on the study until July 8.
NMFS developed alternatives to consider based on Makah's proposal and on comments submitted at public hearings in 2005. One of the alternatives is to take no action on Makah's request--essentially, to deny it. But "divorcing" the Makahs from whaling would erode cultural identity and increase tensions "between [the] Makah Tribe and others, including [the] federal government," the study states.
* The nation's regulations would prohibit the striking of a whale calf or a whale accompanied by a calf, and would prohibit the hunting of a gray whale between June 1 and Nov. 30 to prevent the hunting of whales that may be part of a seasonal resident gray whale herd.
* Makah's regulations would provide for detailed photographic monitoring of all landed whales, for comparison with photos in the National Marine Mammal Laboratory's photo-identification catalog of the seasonal resident herds.
* Whale "products" would be restricted to local consumption and ceremonies.
For more on the subject, see The Makah Whale-Hunt Controversy.