In 2006, we worked with the Old Harbor Tribal Council and sea lion hunters to develop the Alaska Native Hunters Photographic Guide to Sea Lion Biosampling. This is a photographic guide to sea lion biosampling and walks through the process of how to collect the samples and why those samples are important. We also worked with scientists and managers to ensure that priority samples were collected.
The intent of this to give sea lion hunters the tools and information necessary to collect quality biological samples from subsistence hunted or dead stranded sea lions. These samples can provide critical insight into areas such as sea lion reproductive health, contaminant burden, nutritional status, genetics, stress and disease presence and prevalence.
Through a cooperative agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service signed in 2008, we trained biosamplers in the regions of Cook Inlet, Kodiak, and Bristol Bay, as well as in Dutch Harbor. Through a collaboration between the University of Alaska Fairbanks, TASSC and NMFS, hair, liver, kidney and fat samples were analyzed for mercury, methyl mercury and selenium levels.
We have held trainings in Kodiak, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, and worked with individuals from throughout the Western population, including Unalaska, Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Chugach and Cook Inlet region. We are currently working to expand the program into Southeast Alaska.
We are always interested in working with sea lion hunters and artisans. If you are interested in sea lion biosampling, please contact us at 1-800-474-4362 (within Alaska), 907-286-2377 (direct) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A program overview can be downloaded here.
Updated 14 December 2015