[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 38 (Tuesday, February 26, 2013)]
[Page 13028]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04408]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC460

Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales.


SUMMARY: NMFS notifies the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling 
quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the Alaska Eskimo 
Whaling Commission (AEWC), and of limitations on the use of the quota 
deriving from regulations of the International Whaling Commission 
(IWC). For 2013, the quota is 75 bowhead whales struck. This quota and 
other applicable limitations govern the harvest of bowhead whales by 
members of the AEWC.

DATES: Effective February 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Office of International Affairs, National Marine Fisheries 
Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Andersen, (301) 427-8385.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Aboriginal subsistence whaling in the United 
States is governed by the Whaling Convention Act (WCA) (16 U.S.C. 916 
et seq.). Regulations that implement the Act, found at 50 CFR 230.6, 
require the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to publish, at least 
annually, aboriginal subsistence whaling quotas and any other 
limitations on aboriginal subsistence whaling deriving from regulations 
of the IWC.
    At the 64th Annual Meeting of the IWC, the Commission set catch 
limits for aboriginal subsistence use of bowhead whales from the 
Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock. The bowhead catch limits were based 
on a joint request by the United States and the Russian Federation, 
accompanied by documentation concerning the needs of two Native groups: 
Alaska Eskimos and Chukotka Natives in the Russian Far East.
    The IWC set a 6-year block catch limit of 336 bowhead whales 
landed. For each of the years 2013 through 2018, the number of bowhead 
whales struck may not exceed 67, except that any unused portion of a 
strike quota from any prior year, including 15 unused strikes from the 
2008 through 2012 quota, may be carried forward. No more than 15 
strikes may be added to the strike quota for any one year. At the end 
of the 2012 harvest, there were 15 unused strikes available for carry-
forward, so the combined strike quota set by the IWC for 2013 is 82 (67 
+ 15).
    An arrangement between the United States and the Russian Federation 
ensures that the total quota of bowhead whales landed and struck in 
2013 will not exceed the limits set by the IWC. Under this arrangement, 
the Russian natives may use no more than seven strikes, and the Alaska 
Eskimos may use no more than 75 strikes.
    Through its cooperative agreement with the AEWC, NOAA has assigned 
75 strikes to the Alaska Eskimos. The AEWC will in turn allocate these 
strikes among the 11 villages whose cultural and subsistence needs have 
been documented, and will ensure that its hunters use no more than 75 

Other Limitations

    The IWC regulations, as well as the NOAA regulation at 50 CFR 
230.4(c), forbid the taking of calves or any whale accompanied by a 
    NOAA regulations (at 50 CFR 230.4) contain a number of other 
prohibitions relating to aboriginal subsistence whaling, some of which 
are summarized here:
     Only licensed whaling captains or crew under the control 
of those captains may engage in whaling.
     Captains and crew must follow the provisions of the 
relevant cooperative agreement between NOAA and a Native American 
whaling organization.
     The aboriginal hunters must have adequate crew, supplies, 
and equipment to engage in an efficient operation.
     Crew may not receive money for participating in the hunt.
     No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from 
whales taken in the hunt, except for authentic articles of Native 
American handicrafts.
     Captains may not continue to whale after the relevant 
quota is taken, after the season has been closed, or if their licenses 
have been suspended. They may not engage in whaling in a wasteful 

    Dated: February 21, 2013.
Jean-Pierre Ple,
Deputy Director, Office of International Affairs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-04408 Filed 2-25-13; 8:45 am]