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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Fact Sheets > 2002
Fact Sheet
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce
Washington, DC
May 15, 2002

Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling

The United States supports requests for aboriginal subsistence quotas from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) and the Makah Indian Tribe of Washington State.

Since native peoples from more than one country can and do hunt the same whale stock, the IWC issues aboriginal subsistence whaling quotas by stock of whales, not by country. Bowhead and gray whales are hunted by native peoples both in the United States and Russia. The U.S. and Russia allocate the IWC quotas among the native hunters, so that the limits are not exceeded.

The AEWC harvests bowhead whales; the Makah Tribe hunts gray whales. At this year's IWC annual meeting, the U.S. delegation will be requesting renewal of the five-year quotas at the same level as set in 1997. Under those quotas, 280 strikes of bowhead whales from the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock were allocated to the AEWC, and 20 gray whales from the Eastern North Pacific stock to the Makah Tribe, for the years 1998 through 2002.

In addition, natives from Greenland and from St. Vincent & the Grenadines have hunted under aboriginal subsistence whaling quotas set by the IWC. The IWC will also consider those quotas at this year's meeting. The IWC reviews all aboriginal subsistence quotas annually, in light of new data or advice from the IWC's Scientific Committee.



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