EXTREMES Longest lived mammal (~ 150 yr) Late age at sexual maturity (~20 yr) Low body temperature (~92 F) Longest baleen (~16 ft) Thickest blubber (35) Best tasting
Traditional Knowledge of the Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus) around Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska 1.Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission / Native Village of Savoonga 2.Private Consultant – Eagle River 3.North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management - Barrow, AK
TEK bowhead whale surveys indicated: 2 migratory routes recognized Changes in abundance and distribution Timing / direction of migrations Identified migratory staging area Identified several local feeding area Increasing numbers of ingutuks or sub-adults
Ecological Change Impact/ Response Mediator e.g. politics, regulation, inertia e.g. economic/social system, personal choice, culture e.g. climate Mechanism Connecting Change to Impact
Angyaq The Native people of Savoonga forever rely on marine mammals for food and domestic needs. We will continue this tradition.
Hauling up a whale
Savoonga: Percent total subsistence harvest
Savoonga: # days per week, subsistence food use
Satellite-tagged bowhead locations and MODIS sea ice images March 2009
The Tribe has regulated the taking of marine mammals in a respectful & non-wasteful manner (Consistent with MMPA, Constitution, and By-laws of the Native Village of Savoonga 1934)
Survival depends upon community cooperation and sharing the marine mammal harvest
All of our harvests!
Environmental Loss of marine mammal habitat Less availability of marine subsistence resources Subsistence resources less accessible – less predictable Longer travel in open seas – increase cost / increase risk Health of marine resources Disease Changing ecosystem: new animals / competition CONCERNS/THREATS
Environmental Fall whaling (1990) OPPORTUNITY Julian date Whale harvest
OPPORTUNITY Industrial Direct communication with transiting vessels Training / education Mitigation measures Monitoring / other science opportunities Local employment Involvement in policy-making Tribal government representation
Acknowledgements Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, Captains / Crews Barrow Whaling Captains Association Savoonga Whaling Captains Association North Slope Borough, Wildlife Department Mayors Office, North Slope Borough University of Washington Colorado State University NOAA / National Marine Fisheries Service Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks – Marine Advisory Program Texas A&M University BP and Conoco-Phillips