Also take a look at our special section on the Makah whale hunt.
Management Plan for Makah Treaty
Gray Whale Hunting for the Years
Makah Whaling Commission
The purpose of this plan is to set forth the Makah Tribe's management intent and applicable Tribal regulations to govern the exercise of treaty ceremonial and subsistence whaling rights during the period 1998 through 2002. This management plan is adopted pursuant to Article 4 of the Treaty of Neah Bay, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling ("ICRW") Schedule Amendment adopted by the International Whaling Commission ("IWC") on October 23, 1997, and the Agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") and the Makah Tribal Council (the "Council") entered on October 13, 1997. Under the ICRW Schedule Amendment, the Makah Tribe is authorized to share a five year aboriginal subsistence quota of 620 gray whales with the indigenous people of Chukotka, Russia. The ICRW Schedule Amendment assumes that over the five year period, an average of 120 gray whales per year would be taken by the people of Chukotka and an average of 4 whales per year would be taken by the Makah Tribe.
Under the Agreement between NOAA and the Council, the Makah gray whale harvest may not exceed 5 landed whales per year. The Agreement also contains additional requirements regarding the number of strikes, inspection and reporting, management, utilization and enforcement which are incorporated in this management plan. The management plan contains a number of additional management measures adopted voluntarily by the Tribe to ensure the orderly development of safe, humane, and culturally appropriate whale hunts. In accordance with the ICRW Schedule Amendment and the Agreement with NOAA, the management plan strictly prohibits commercial sale of whale products except for traditional handicrafts made from non-edible parts of the whale.
It is the Tribe's intent to provide for the gradual development of ceremonial and subsistence whale hunts over the five-year period so as to allow for the development of Tribal management capabilities, refinement of hunting methods, and more accurate assessment of the Tribe's cultural subsistence needs. The Tribe intends to utilize the experience and information collected during the five year term of this plan to develop a second multi-year plan which will take effect after the IWC reviews the current ICRW Schedule Amendment in the year 2002. The conservative management approach provided for in this management plan is not intended to limit, waive or modify any of the Tribe's whaling rights under the Treaty of Neah Bay and any such construction of this plan is improper and unauthorized.
- "Calf" means any whale less than 1 year old or having milk in its stomach.
- "Council" means the Makah Tribal Council.
- "Commission" means the Makah Whaling Commission.
- "Department of Natural Resources" or "DNR" means the Makah Department of Natural Resources.
- "Landing" means bringing a whale or any parts of a whale onto land in the course of whaling operations.
- "Member" means an enrolled member of the Makah Indian Tribe.
- "Strike" means any blow delivered to a whale by a harpoon, lance, rifle, explosive device or other weapon which results or is likely to result in death or serious bodily harm to the whale. When used as a verb, "strike" means the act of delivering such a blow to a whale.
- "Tribe" means the Makah Indian Tribe.
- "Whale products" means any unprocessed part of a whale and blubber, meat, bones, whale oil, meal and baleen.
- "Whaling" means the scouting for, hunting, striking, killing, flensing, or landing of a whale, and the processing of whales or whale products.
- "Whaling captain" means a member in charge of a whaling team authorized by the Council to engage in whaling under this management plan.
- "Whaling expedition" means a complete voyage in which a whaling team leaves port or shore for the purpose of whaling and returns to port or shore.
- "Whaling team" means a group of members, under the control of a whaling captain, authorized by the Council to engage in whaling under this management plan.
III. Harvest Quotas/Strike Limits.
- The total number of gray whales landed by members in any one calendar year shall not exceed five (5).
- The total number of gray whales landed by members between 1998 and 2002 shall not exceed twenty (20) without the prior agreement of the indigenous people of Chukotka, acting through an appropriate governing body, and the government of the Russian Federation.
- The total number of gray whales struck by members shall not exceed ten (10) in 1998, nine (9) in 1999, eight (8) in 2000, and seven (7) in 2001 and 2002, provided that the Council will take prudent management measures to reduce the ratio of struck whales to landed whales in any one calendar year to no more than 2:1.
- No member may strike a gray whale calf or a female gray whale accompanied by a calf or calves.
- No member may strike a whale other than a gray whale.
- No member may engage in whaling except under the control of a whaling captain who is in possession of a valid whaling permit issued by the Council. All whaling permits issued by the Council shall incorporate all of the requirements of this management plan and any additional requirements the Council deems appropriate. The Council shall consult closely with the Commission when issuing whaling permits.
- Any whaling permit issued by the Council shall be issued only to a whaling captain certified by the Commission pursuant to Part V below. The permit shall identify the vessels which will participate in the hunt, the members who will be part of the captain's whaling team, and the boundaries of the designated area in which hunting will be permitted.
- The Council shall provide at least __ hours advance notice to the National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") and the United States Coast Guard ("USCG") prior to issuing a whaling permit.
- A whaling permit shall expire when any one of the following events occurs: (1) the whaling team lands a gray whale; (2) the whaling team strikes a gray whale but is unable to land it; (3) the whaling team returns to port after a whaling expedition in which no gray whales have been struck; (4) the whaling team fails to initiate a whaling expedition within 72 hours after permit issuance; or (5) the Council determines, for any reason, to terminate the permit.
- The Council may issue no more than one whaling permit for any one period.
- The Council may issue a whaling permit only after determining, based on the advice of the Commission, that there is an unmet need for whale products in the community.
- The Commission shall establish a certification process for whaling captains, harpooners, riflemen, divers, canoe paddlers, and other whaling team members. The certification process shall ensure that every whaling captain and each member who serves on a whaling team has received adequate training to perform his assigned role on the team.
- The Council shall not issue a permit to a whaling captain unless the Council determines that the whaling captain and each whaling team member has been certified by the Commission to perform his assigned role on the whaling team.
VI. Whaling Vessels, Equipment and Hunting Methods.
- A whaling team must include one or more canoes and at least two chase boats.
- All canoes used in whaling must be at least 30 feet in length and manned by a harpooner, rifleman and six paddlers.
- All chase boats used in whaling must be at least 24 feet in length and powered by an engine large enough to tow an adult gray whale to port (at least 200 horsepower). Each chase boat shall be manned by a pilot, diver, backup rifleman, and at least one other crew member. Each chase boat shall be equipped with Loran or other navigation system capable of precisely fixing the vessel's position on the water.
- All whaling harpoons must be equipped with a stainless-steel toggle point, connected to one or more floats, and bear a permanent distinctive mark identifying the whaling captain who is in charge of the whaling team using the harpoon.
- The rifle used in gray whale hunts shall be a .50BMG (caliber) very high-powered rifle.
- The first strike made upon a gray whale shall be made by the harpooner on a canoe and shall affix one or more floats to the whale. Immediately after the harpooner strikes the whale, the rifleman on the canoe shall fire his rifle at the whale's central nervous system (CNS). If the whale is not immobilized by the initial shot, the chase boats will pursue the whale and the riflemen aboard the chase boats will kill the whale as expeditiously as practicable with rifle shots directed at the whale's CNS.
- Upon the death of a whale, the chase boat divers will ensure the whale remains afloat and secure the whale for towing to port. The whale will be expeditiously towed to port by one of the chase boats.
- By following the general procedures set out in paragraphs F and G above, whaling teams shall make best efforts to land every whale that is struck.
- The Commission shall conduct research and development to further refine the hunting methods set out in this management plan. Upon consultation with the Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Council may periodically amend the provisions of this part to improve the safety, effectiveness and humaneness of gray whale hunts.
VII. Open Season.
Whaling shall be permitted only between April 1 and October 31 of each calendar year.
VIII. Area Restrictions.
- Whaling shall be permitted only in those open waters of the Pacific Ocean which are outside the Tatoosh-Bonilla Line, and within the adjudicated usual and accustomed grounds of the Makah Tribe.
- Within the area open to whaling under paragraph A above, whaling shall be confined to a [5?] square mile area designated by the Council in each whaling permit.
- The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will work in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard and other federal law enforcement agencies to close off the designated hunting area to recreational and commercial vessel traffic. To the extent necessary to protect the security of the whaling team and public safety, closures beyond the designated area may be enforced by tribal and federal law enforcement personnel.
IX. Use of Meat and Whale Products.
- Whale products taken pursuant to this management plan shall be used exclusively for local consumption and ceremonial purposes and may not be sold or offered for sale. No member may receive money for participation on a whaling team.
- Notwithstanding paragraph A above, traditional handicrafts made from non-edible whale products may be sold or offered for sale within the United States.
- The Commission shall periodically monitor the utilization of whale products within the community and inform the Council when an unmet need for whale meat or other products exists. The Commission may conduct research in order to more accurately and systematically estimate the Tribe's subsistence needs.
X. Monitoring and Reporting.
- A DNR representative will accompany each whaling team as a observer on one of the chase boats. Upon request, the whaling captain will permit an additional observer from the Northwest Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service aboard one of the chase boats.
- The DNR observer shall be responsible for recording the time, date and precise location of each whale struck. For each whale struck, the DNR observer shall record whether the whale was landed. If not landed, the DNR observer shall describe the circumstances associated with the striking of the whale and estimate whether the animal suffered a wound that might be fatal.
- For each whale landed, the DNR observer shall record the body length (as measured from the point of the upper jaw to the notch between the tail flukes), the extreme width of the flukes, and the sex of the whale. The DNR observer shall also record the length and sex of any fetus in the landed whale.
- If practicable, the DNR observer shall estimate the time interval between the initial strike and the death of the whale. E. The DNR shall be responsible for compiling and transmitting the weekly and annual reports required under the Agreement between the Council and NOAA. The DNR will provide the National Marine Fisheries Service with a weekly oral report regarding the number of whales struck and landed. To the extent specified in any bilateral agreement, the DNR will also provide periodic oral or written reports regarding the number of whales struck and landed to representatives of the Russian Federation.
- By November 30 of each year, the DNR and the National Marine Fisheries Service will prepare a joint written report compiling all of the data recorded by the DNR under paragraphs B through D above, as well as any additional data recorded by National Marine Fisheries Service personnel.
- The DNR will assist National Marine Fisheries Service personnel in the collection of specimen material from landed whales, including but not limited to, ovaries, ear plugs, baleen plates, stomach contents, and tissue samples. The DNR may collect additional samples for its own use as part of the Tribe's research and management activities.
- The DNR shall be the Tribal law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing the requirements of whaling permits and this management plan.
- Any member found whaling in violation of this management plan or the terms of a whaling permit issued by the Council shall be subject to prosecution in Tribal Court for a Class A criminal offense in accordance with the procedures set forth in Title 2 of the Makah Law and Order Code.
- A whaling captain shall be deemed liable for any violations committed by a member of a whaling team under his control.
- Any member convicted by the Tribal Court of the offense of whaling in violation of this management plan or the terms of any whaling permit issued by the Council shall be subject to the penalties for a Class A criminal offense under Section 5.8.02 of the Makah Law and Order Code.
- Members convicted of said offense may also be barred from exercising treaty fishing, hunting and/or whaling rights for up to three (3) years.
- In determining the severity of punishment, the Court shall consult with the Commission and take into account the seriousness of the injury to the Tribe and Tribal resources.
The Council may amend this management plan from time to time in consultation with the Commission as new information becomes available, provided that the requirements of the management plan shall comply with the ICRW Schedule Amendment and the Agreement between NOAA and the Council. 1 Section 5.8.02 of the Makah Law and Order Code currently provides that Class A offenses are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and imprisonment not to exceed 6 months.