March 29, 2007
TASSC Small Boat Survey Workshop
Sitka Marine Mammal Commission Sea Otter Hunting Training Video
TASSC Honors its Commissioners

TASSC Small Boat Survey Workshop
The second Sea Otter Small Boat Survey (SBS) Workshop was held in Anchorage, Alaska, on February 6th and 7th 2007. The Workshop gathered SBS operators and surveyors from across the state, tribal members, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff, and TASSC Commissioners and staff.

Funded through an agreement with the USFWS through Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the SBS gives tribes the opportunity to survey their sea otter subsistence resources. The data collected is useful to a tribe’s sea otter resource management plan, potential harvest ordinances and to determine trends in their waters. TASSC’s SBS program began in 1998.

The two day event showcased SBS survey history and data, variation and adaptations, challenges, and data use and objectives for each tribe conducting SBS in their regions.

Tribes currently conducting sea otter SBS and present at the workshop were the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska, Native Village of Chignik Lagoon, Native Village of Ouzinkie, Native Village of Port Graham and Nanwalek, Seldovia Village Tribe, Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, Craig Community Association, and Hydaburg Cooperative Association. The Native Village of Eyak also implements SBS but was unable to attend the workshop.

Each SBS operator/observer talked about what they experience during their surveys. They discussed in great detail the geographical features of the areas they survey. The difficulties that some operators encounter during their surveys was also discussed.

The workshop concluded with a discussion on research permitting, community priorities, and planning on the frequency of future surveys. TASSC would like to thank all those who participated and made the workshop a great success.

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Sitka Marine Mammal Commission Sea Otter Hunting Training Video
The Sitka Marine Mammal Commission (SMMC) has partnered with TASSC and the USFWS to initiate a youth sea otter hunter training program and corresponding training video. The video has been broken down into seven parts; (1) harvesting regulations, (2) rifle safety, (3) boating safety, (4) proper skinning and hide care, (5) marine science, (6) the harvest, and (7) full utilization. Tribal youth have volunteered to fill the position of trainees for a training video and will be mentored by the members of the SMMC.

Currently, the harvesting regulations, rifle safety (first offering of two sessions), and proper skinning and hide care portions of the project have been recorded to video. Dean Cramer reviewed the harvest regulations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act with the trainees. In December of 2006, Linn Shipley with the state’s hunter safety program taught a basic rifle safety class. In January 2007, Boyd Dedrickson educated trainees on the proper way to skin a sea otter and discussed the various uses of different parts of the sea otter. The Sitka Tribal Tannery Manager also demonstrated the proper way to care for and store a sea otter hide once it has been harvested. All sessions have been recorded and photographed. SMMC has contracted with filmmaker Ellen Frankestein to edit and create the final video.

The video is scheduled to be completed by June 2007. Please contact the Sitka Marine Mammal Commission for more information.


TASSC Honors its Commissioner
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At TASSC’s Annual Meeting on February 8, 2007, TASSC honored six Commissioners who previously served on TASSC’s board. A Recognition Ceremony was held for Joseph Clark (1996-2005), Dolly Garza (1993-2005), Claude Kuzakin (1991-2005), Melvin Smith (1994-2002), Patrick Marrs (1998-2004), and John Lind (2005-06). Each Commissioner present was give a plaque from TASSC in appreciation of their dedicated service with heart and soul to the Commission. TASSC was equally honored to have the daughter of Joseph Clark present, Sharon Clark, who accepted his plaque on his behalf.

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