TASSC coordinated two sessions at the 2009 Alaska Forum on the Environment. The sessions were held Thursday, February 5, at the Egan Center.
We were fortunate to have esteemed and expert panelists. The first panel had 4 speakers, including Monica Riedel - Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission (ANHSC), Brendan Kelly - National Science Foundation/Scientific Review Group (SRG), Dave Case - Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP, and Les Cockreham - National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The second panel had 3 speakers, including Harry Brower Jr.- Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission/North Slope Borough (AEWC/NSB), Charles Hamilton - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Lisa Rotterman - National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The intent of the panels were to highlight via case study or through a discussion about policy, ways that people can use provisions in laws like the Marine Mammal Protection Act or the Endangered Species Act, to ensure that their voice was heard in the decision-making process.
To highlight this, Monica talked about ANHSC’s experiences working with NMFS in the process of harbor seal stocks delineation. ANHSC and NMFS used the co-management process to mutually agree upon how harbor seals should be properly characterized.
Brendan talked about marine mammal co-management and the provisions that authorize the development of marine mammal stock assessments. He shared what kind of information is considered in the process and the different provisions that stock assessment reports encompass.
David talked about the process that was used in the Cook Inlet Beluga case and more specifically, how the administrative hearing featured in the process.
Lastly in the first session, Les talked about some commonly asked questions and scenarios that he encounters as a Law Enforcement officer with NMFS.
The second session began with Harry talking about how the AEWC negotiates a conflict avoidance agreement with the oil and gas industry Every year they negotiate this agreement to ensure that development activities do not impact their whaling activities or negatively affect the bowheads. As they go forward with these agreements, they work with NMFS and the Mineral Management Service to ensure that the federal agencies are aware of their concerns.
Charles then spoke about specific ways that the USFWS has involved Alaska Natives/Alaska Native Organizations in the assessment process.
Lastly, Lisa talked about conservation planning and used the Steller sea lion recovery plan as an example. She shared with the audience the different components of the plans and why they are mandated. She also referenced NMFS Interim Guidiance for Recovery Planning and the 2008 Steller Sea Lion Recovery Plan.
The sessions provided concrete examples of actions that have been taken to have subsistence needs and considerations be incorporated into the decision-making process, and highlighted specific management action opportunities.
If you would like hardcopies of any of these presentations mailed to you, please contact us.