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Human Use Fisheries This chapter provides a brief history of commercial and subsistence fisheries on invertebrate, fish, and mammal populations in the Bering Sea region, including interactions of indigenous peoples with the marine ecosystem. Because the states of knowledge and the iliscurics o1 c~pioi~ion are su uiIIerem for the eastern and western Bering pea, exploitation and management are described separately for those two regions. Note that some fishery data may be inaccurate because of underreporting of landings. Although examples of underreporting likely occur in all nations, recent studies suggest that underreporting is especially prevalent in fishery data from the former Soviet Union (Izvestiia, 1994; The Guardian, 1994~. ~ ~ ~_ _ ~. . ~ == ~ ~ . . , ~. ~ FISH AND INVERTEBRATES Eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Aleutian Basin Finfish Landings of commercially valuable fish in the eastern Bering Sea range from 1 to 2 million t annually. Before the establishment by the United States of an exclusive economic zone beyond the former 3- and 12-mile limits, a large international fishery existed in this area. Countries other than the United States that had major trawling and harvesting operations during this time included the former Soviet Union, Japan, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Uhma, and Poland. The discussion below examines fisheries from the perspective of the historical effort expended in the eastern half of the Bering Sea. - - --O _ . ~ . Salmon. The earliest fisheries for salmon in the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands were likely native subsistence fisheries. Salmon, which are anadromous, return to their natal streams to spawn. Coastal peoples often established villages or temporary fishing camps at the mouths 156

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Human Use- Fisheries 157 of rivers and along streams to take advantage of this annual event. The Importance of salmon to native peoples of the Bering Sea is reflected in their culture, art, and song. Figure 5.1a shows total salmon and sockeye salmon catch of fish originating in watersheds of western Alaska (essentially salmon originating in streams and lakes that empty into the eastern Bering Sea) from 1910 to 1993. Francis and Hare (1994) showed that salmon production, as reflected by catch in all three major regions of Alaska (western, central, and southeastern), tends to vary on both interannual and interdecadal time scales. In particular, they showed that there are very significant and coherent links between relatively sudden interdecadal shifts in northeast Pacific atmosphere and ocean physics and Alaska salmon production (discussed further in Chapter 61. Sockeye salmon from the Bristol Bay area have always dominated the eastern Bering Sea salmon catch and continue to do so. There have been record-setting catches of sockeye salmon since the late 1970s, although some fluctuation in catch has occurred annually. The Bristol Bay catch for all salmon species in 1993 totaled approximately 42 million fish. Sockeye salmon comprised 41 million of that total, the largest sockeye catch on record, exceeding the previous high of 37 million fish in 1983. A fundamental problem of the Bering Sea salmon fishery, like almost all salmon fisheries, is known as the gauntlet problem. It occurs because different species and stocks tend to mix in the ocean and because salmon migrate from the high seas back to their natal streams in highly aggregated and linear fashions. As a result coastal ocean salmon fi.she~ri~ term to target mixed stocks. In the 1950s to 1970s, Japanese high-seas salmon fisheries created areas concern for coastal Alaska communities and fishermen. A. ~ ~ ~ , , ~ ~ . . ~ However, high-seas salmon Interceptions have been essentially eliminated in recent years through international agreements (Figure 5. Ib). More recently, it has become known that salmon destined for the Bering Sea may be incidentally captured by fishers who are attempting to exploit stocks destined for their own areas. Recent concerns over the decline of western Alaska salmon stocks, particularly chum salmon stocks associated with the Yukon-Kuskokw~m area, have forced managers to take action to reduce the interception of these salmon by fishers in other areas. The June salmon fisheries on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula, commonly called the False Pass fishery, have been a subject of controversy since nearly the tune of their inception in the early 19OOs. Tagging studies indicate that most of the sockeye salmon caught in this fishery are bound for rivers in Bristol Bay. For this reason, managers have been obligated to manage the fishery in a very conservative manner (Rogers, 1992), as is evidenced in the historically high abundance of sockeye salmon over the past 10 years. Perhaps even more controversial is the recent increase in incidental catch of nonlocal chum salmon, in particular those originating in the Yukon-Kuskokw~m area. This issue has forced managers to institute a chum salmon cap on the predominantly sockeye fishery in the False Pass region. Groundtfish and Halibut. The earliest fisheries for groundfish in We eastern Bering Sea region were probably native subsistence fisheries. Although the subsistence fisheries did not represent

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158 50I 45 40 ~ . Million . Fish 30 25 20 15 10 5 \s it' a_ O 1910 1920 1930 1940 .50 45 40 35 Ion 30 Fish 25 20 15 10 5 lo 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 The Bering Sea Ecosystem 1950 1960 1970 Sockeye O Other 1 - ~ ECU as_ an_ r '1 Catch O Interceot 1 iN / hi, _ q a. 1980 1990 1980 1990 Figure S.la,b Western Alaska total and sockeye salmon fishery production; western Alaska sockeye salmon in-area catch and interceptions (R. Francis, Personal Communication).

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Human Use Fisheries 159 a food source as accessible as the returning salmon, native peoples quickly learned to utilize those marine fishes that were common to their area. These fish were an Important part of the life of native people, and dependence on demersal species may have been critical to their survival during those seasons when other sources of food were scarce or lacking. Fishing for such species as cod, halibut, and rockfish occurred in nearshore waters. These small-scale subsistence fisheries have continued to the present time. The first commercial venture for bottomfish occurred in 1864 when ~ .~in~l~. ~.hnon~r fished for Pacific cod in the Bering Sea (Cobb, 19271. ~ ~ ~ ~ ^~_~^ ~ =~454~ ~V= ~ ~01 The cod fishery did not commence on a regular annual basis until 1882. Catches were relatively low until World War I, when the demand for cod-liver oil stimulated greater effort. Between 1915 and 1920, as many as 24 vessels operated and produced 12,000 to 14,000 t annually (Pereyra et al., 1976). This domestic fishery continued until 1950, when demand for cod declined and economic conditions caused the fishery to be discontinued (Alverson et al., 1994). Fishing areas in the eastern Bering Sea ranged from north of Unimak Island and the Alaska Peninsula to Bristol Bay (Cobb' 1927). Halibut were reported in the Bering Sea by U.S. cod vessels as early as the 1800s. However, Bering Sea halibut did not reach North American markets until 1928 (Thompson and Freeman, 1930). Small and infrequent landings of halibut from the Bering Sea were made by U.S. and Canadian vessels between 1928 and 1950, but catches were not landed every year until 1952 (Figure 5.2) (Dunlop et al., 1964). The catch by North American setline vessels increased sharply between 1958 and 1962 (exceeding 3,300 I), then fell to a low of 130 t by 1973 before recovering to a high in 1987, and then declined slowly. Bering Sea halibut catches began to increase in 1982 O _ _, Following a six-year down cycle, The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), established in 1923 by convention between Canada and the United States to preserve the halibut fishery of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, issued the opinion that the reduced halibut abundance was the result of a combination of factors: the North American setline fishery, the Japanese setline fishery, incidental catches of juvenile halibut in foreign trawl fisheries, and adverse environmental conditions (S.H. Hoag, personal communication). Exploitation of groundfish resources in the eastern Bering Sea and along the Aleutian Islands changed dramatically in 1959 (Figure 5.3). Following several years of prospecting, foreign fleets from Japan and the Soviet Union (USSR) began harvesting yellowfin sole (on the eastern Bering Sea shelf) and other Catfish, and Pacific Ocean perch (in the Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska) and other slope rockfish. Harvest of eastern Bering Sea shelf flatfish peaked in 1961 at nearly 700,000 t, and harvest of the Aleutian Island and Gulf of Alaska slope rockfish complex peaked in 1965 at over 450,000 t (NPFMC, 1993). Between 1959 and 1964, over 1.8 million t of yellowfin sole was taken from the eastern Bering Sea shelf; between 1962 and 1968, almost 1.7 million t of slope rockfish (primarily Pacific Ocean perch) was taken from the eastern Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands. and Gulf of Alaska (as far south as southea.~tern Alaska). In the mid 1960s, some non-U.S. fishers switched their target species to pollock and Pacific cod, and catches quickly grew to more than 2 million tons (primarily eastern Bering Sea pollock) per year by 1971. Catch by non-U.S. fishermen peaked at approximately 2.25 million tons in 1972 before declining again (Figure 5.3). By that time, other nations and additional vessels were joining the fleet in increasing numbers. Between 1864 and 1960, most commercial groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea used hook-and-~ne techniques. With the advent of fisheries for Catfish and rockfish in the late 1950s,

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160 The Bering Sea Ecosystem NE Pacific Halibut Catch (mt) 30000 25000 onnnn 1 0000 5000 o 29 34 39 44 49 54 59 64 69 74 79 84 89 Year OBS/Aleutians ElTotal Figure 5.2 Northeast Pacific halibut catch in the Bering Sea and Aleutians, 1929-90 (IPHC 1994). 2,500 2,000 - ~n c o - v go, 1,500 E DO lo to 0 _ 1,000 DO :L 500 o 1954 57 60 63 66 69 _ _ 1 ~ / A I ' /w ~ , , , , , , . . , . , 1 , . , , . , . , it 72 75 78 81 84 87 90 1993 Year Figure 5.3 Groundfish catches in the eastern Bering Sea and the Aleutians, 1954-93 (R. Francis personal communication).

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Human Use Fisheries 161 fishermen began using benthic trawl gear. Since 1960, a combination of hook-and-line, trawl (both benthic and pelagic nets), and pots has been routinely used, with trawl being the predominant method. With the implementation of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act (FCMA) in 1977 (later renamed the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act [MFCMA]), a major change occurred in U.S. fishery policy, which would later result in shift of Bering Sea resources away from foreign fishers and to a growing fleet of American fishers. This federal law established the United States' rights to manage fishery resources and set priorities for U.S. citizens. In many ways, it mirrored the extended jurisdiction laws being adopted by most other maritime nations at that time. With its approval, the United States had for the first tune a national policy for fisheries and institutionalized criteria for use in management decisions. A key element of the FCMA was the government's acceptance of stewardship over the adjacent fishery resources and responsibility to stimulate growth and economic viability of the U.S. fishing industry. In the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region, this meant that foreign fleets, which before 1976 could fish freely beyond 12 miles of the Alaska coast, would now have to conduct their operations under approval of the U.S. federal government. Beginning in 1978 and until the present time, the annual catch of all groundfish species in the eastern Bering Sea has averaged about I.5 million tons annually (Figure 5.31. After Implementation of the MFCMA, foreign fisheries were allowed to continue for another decade. A milestone was reached in 1978 when the first joint-venture operation was formed whereby a domestic catcher vessel delivered its catch to a foreign processing ship. These joint-venture operations were viewed by U.S. government as a way to transfer fishing technology and experience to domestic fishermen, who up to that time had little read experience in fishing for most groundfish species in the Bering Sea. -D The government supported the growth of joint ventures and the domestic industry by instituting a preferential policy whereby available fish resources were first allocated to wholly domestic operations (i.e.. U.S. catching and processing) then available Urn ware nilor.nt~rl ~ ~ ~ - r ~ -~~~o~ ~ ~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~ ---r -- ~ ~lo- _ _ 11 ~_ 1 . ~. ~. . .. ~ to Jomt ventures, and finally any remaining surpluses to were allocated to totally foreign operations. This latter allocation was often made to a foreign nation following a review to determine its level of support of domestic operations. Soon joint ventures became a major factor in the overall harvest. In 1981, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) developed its Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and placed an overall catch limit for the Bering Sea at 2 million tons beginning with the 1984 season. With the help of its allocation policy and with a significant increase in the market price of whitefish in the next few years, joint ventures, and hence U.S. harvesting capacity, continued to grow. As a result, foreign fisheries were reduced and eventually phased out entirely by 1988. The strong markets, the technology transfer, and the federal government's willingness to finance capitalization of the fishery continued to shmulate the domestic industry and resulted in a complete phase-out of all remaining joint-venture fishing by 1990. Two significant developments occurred in the Bering Sea pollock fishery in recent years (Wespestad, 19931. The first was the initiation of pollock fisheries in the central Bering Sea (Aleutian Basin) outside of the U.S. and Russian exclusive economic zones (commonly referred to as the "donut holed. The second was the development of a U.S. fishery for deepwater spawning pollock in the area of BogosIof Island in the southeastern Aleutian Basin. Reported

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162 The Bering Sea Ecosystem catches peaked at over 1.4 million t in 1989 in the donut hole, and at over 260,000 t in 1991 near Bogoslof Island. Both of these fisheries had virtually disappeared by 1992. These fisheries raised significant issues about the relationships between pollock populations inhabiting the deep Aleutian Basin and those of both the eastern and western Bering Sea shelves. The 1992 eastern Bering Sea (including the Aleutian Islands area) groundfish catch was approximately 1.8 million t, with pollock (1.4 million t), Pacific cod (163,000 t), and yellowfin sole (147,000 t) comprising over 90 percent of the total (NPFMC, 1993). These figures now include the incidental and discarded catches (known as bycatch), which could be sizable, and until recently were not included in the fishery statistics. Hemug. Pacific herring of the Bering Sea were first used by native peoples inhabiting the coastal perimeter. During spawning, herring are present near shore in massive schools, and early inhabitants took advantage of this readily available fishery resource (Wespestad, 1991). Native fishers caught these fish, which preserved well because of their high oil content. Today, herring continues to be an important food in many native villages along the Bering Sea coast, especially in villages between the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, where alternative food resources (e.g., salmon and moose) are absent or in low abundance. The largest catches of herring occurred all along the coast of Alaska in the 1930s, and during the foreign herring fishery in the eastern Bering Sea in the late 1960s (Figure 5.4). Foreign catch in the eastern Bering Sea offshore Alaska peaked in 1969 at more than 145,000 t. After a slow start in the mid-1960s and 1970s, coastal herring roe fisheries rose in response to exclusion of Japanese fisheries from the Soviet and U.S. exclusive economic zones and the resultant increases in Japanese imports of herring roe. The roe fishery occurs in May and June along the entire U.S. Bering Sea coast as far north as Norton Sound. Predominant gear types are gill net north of Bristol Bay and purse seine (manned primarily by fishermen from central and southeastern Alaska and Washington) in Bristol Bay. Since the early 1980s, Bering Sea landings have averaged around 25,000 t (Figure 5.5). Excellent recruitment from the 1988 year class has caused recent stock levels to increase (ADF&G, 1993). Invertebrates Commercial fisheries for king and Tanner crabs in the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands have long been among the world's most important sources of crabs (Otto, 1981; 1990). While landing statistics are impressive, these (and central Gulf of Alaska) crab fisheries have undergone radical changes over their decades of existence, particularly since the late 1970s. Whereas in 1978 red king crab made up over 90 percent of the king crab landings of the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutians, by 1988 red king crab landings were no longer-dominant among king crabs (Figure 5.6). Similarly, Tanner crab fisheries were developed in the late 1970s by exploiting primarily C. bairdti, and C. opilio (snow crab).

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Human Use- Fisheries A Bad 60,000 ~ 40,000 ~ 1 20,000 ~ an o 1 00,000 80,000 ~ Cay A_ CD 60,000 ~ 40,000 20,000 o 163 Reduction and ~ Sac Roe Food 1 l Foreign (Bering Sea) 1993 Forecast I1 1 1 1 1 lo Cal - O O O m (D _ _ _ - o - 1ii ~I ~ O O a: ~ _ _ Figure 5.4 Herring catches from all Alaska herring fisheries, 1930-92 (with the projected 1993 catch) (ADFG, 1993).

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164 80,000 70,000 60,000- 50,000. O (D 40,000- 1;; 30,000' 20,000 1 0,000 Bering Sea Prince William Sound Cook InIet/Kodiak Southeast The Bering Sea Ecosystem 1993 Forecast = 76,063 tons ,- _= cat cO ~on ~ 0 ~0 ~0 %0 ~ ~ . ~ ~ ~ ~ a: cat ~ ~ cat cut ~ ~ on ~ - r . ~r . ~ ~Cat ~ Cal a: ~Ch Cat Ch 0% ~0` Figure 5.5 Alaska herring sac roe take harvests from all areas, 1978-92 (with the projected 1993 sac roe take) (ADFG, 19931. RED RED 40 81 UE 8~ 92S BLUE _ 28% _ / BLUE ~ 6~_ GOLDEN GOLD 32% 50~ 1978 1984 1988 RED 44~ Figure 5.6 Relative contributions of red king crab, blue king crab, and golden king crab to landings of king crabs from the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (Otto, 19901.

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Human, Use Fisheries 165 King Crab. Commercial king crab fishing in the eastern Bering Sea began with the Japanese in 1930 and continued until 1940. Japanese king crab vessels using tangle nets returned to the Bering Sea in 1953 and remained until 1974. U.S. fishermen entered the king crab fishery with trawl gear in 1947. Effort and catches declined in the 1950s and then underwent a period of fluctuating low catches through 1966 before expanding to the current, full-scale fishery. The Soviet king crab fleet operated in the eastern Bering Sea from 1959 through 1971. During the late 1960s catches ranged from 1 million lb in 1966 to 10.4 million lb in 1969 (Figure 5.7a). During the 1970s, catches grew further from 12.9 million lb in 1971 to about 108 million lb in 1979. An all-time high catch of 130 million lb was landed in 1980 by American fishermen in the eastern Bering Sea (i.e., Bristol Bay). This large catch was taken by a record 236 vessels using pot gear. Trawl gear and tangle nets had been prohibited in the 1960s, when management established a males-only catch policy and the commercial marketplace demanded whole, live, undamaged crab. In 1981, the eastern Bering Sea king crab catch crashed from its all-tune high to a little more than 33 million lb. By 1982, only 3 million lb of king crab were caught, and in 1983 there was no commercial fishery allowed because of low stock abundance of adult, sexually mature males and females, and no apparent sign of recruitment into the fishery of smaller size crabs. In terms of poundage and value, this fishery grew rapidly during 1971-81 to become an important fishery. In less than half that time it crashed, and it has yet to recover to catch levels seen in the 1970s. A similarly timed decline occurred in the red king crab resource and fishery around Kodiak Island (Blau, 1986). Considerable research was undertaken during this period to determine the cause for the king crab decline. A list of possible causes, including overfishing, cod predation, disease, and handling mortality, were all shown to have the potential, either alone or in combination, to have caused such a disastrous effect on crab populations (Otto, 1986; 1990). However, it cannot be denied that, in addition to fishing, the climatic shift that occurred in the late-1970s may have been a significant factor. Since 1984, when the abundance of adult, sexually mature male and female crabs increased to permit a fishery, red king crab catches have ranged from 4.2 million lb to 18 million lb (Figure 5.7a). The eastern Aleutian Islands provided good red king crab fishing in the 1960s. An all-time high catch was achieved in 1966-67, when 33 million lb were landed. However, since that period the catch has fluctuated widely, declining to a low of 9 million lb in 1970, rebuilding to a peak in 1976, and then crashing again. The eastern region near Unalaska Island has been closed to commercial red king crab fishing since 1983. The western region, toward Adak Island, has continued to produce catches at relatively low levels (less than 1 million lb annually). The blue king crab fishery is situated close to the Pribilof Islands, where the species is most abundant. The fishery was developed by the Japanese in the late 1960s. The U.S. fishery began in 1973 between St. Paul and St. George islands as an interim activity between red king crab seasons. The first reported catch was 1.2 million lb taken by eight vessels. In 1974, 70 vessels participated and more than 7 million lb were landed (Figure 5.7c). At that point, catch per unit effort began to decline even though total catch averaged about 6 million lb for the next 10 years. In 1988, the Pribilof blue king crab fishery was closed due to low stock abundance, and it has remained closed ever since.

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166 The Bering Sea Ecosystem Brown (or golden) king crab is a deepwater crab and the smallest of the three king crab species. Commercial fishers began utilizing this species as an incidental catch to red king crab. Few landings were recorded before 1981. Most brown king crab have been taken along the Aleutian Island chain, along steep canyon walls. The western portion of the chain (Adak) has historically produced the most catch, with an all-tune high of 8 million lb in 1984. Since 198S, catches have been less than 2 million lb annually. Tanner Crab. Tanner crab from Alaska comprise two species, Chionoecetes bairdi and C. opilio. In the commercial marketplace they are most often referred to as Tanner crab or snow crab. C. bairdi is the larger of the two species, and therefore fishing this species became an attractive supplement to king crab fishing. When both Bering Sea king crab and bairdi stocks crashed in the early 1980s, C. opilio became the predominant target. Unfortunately, these stocks followed a similar pattern of decline. The Bering Sea C. bairdi fishery began in 1974, at which tune the first reported C. opilio catch was taken. C. bairdi catches quickly grew from 5 million lb in 1974 to 66 million lb in 1978 (Figure 5.7b). In that year, scientists began forecasting a decline based on survey estimates, and the catch fell to 42 million lb in 1979, 11 million lb by 1982, and 3 million lb in 1985. Managers closed the commercial fishery until 1988 when it appeared that some stock recovery had occurred. In 1990 the catch had increased to 24.5 million lb and by 1993 the catch was over 30 million lb. Assessment surveys indicate a declining trend beginning in 1994. The smaller but more abundant C. opilio crab has filled an important market niche as king crab and C. bairdi crab have become less abundant. C. opilio catches initially were incidental to king and C. bairdi fisheries but began in earnest in 1979, when more than 32 million lb were landed (Figure 5.7d). In 1981 more than 52 million lb were landed. A small decline in catch then followed after which the level increased again. An all-time record catch was taken in 1992, when about 316 million lb were taken. Since then C. opilio populations have undergone a decline, reflected in both the surveys and catch. Shrimp. The Bering Sea shrimp fishery began in 1960, when Japanese mothership operation targeted pink shrimp and bumpy shrimp near the Pribilof Islands. The fishery peaked rapidly to nearly 66 million lb in 1963, then declined just as rapidly and has since been inconsequential since 1967. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Japanese and Russian fleets exploited shrimp stocks in the Gulf of Anadyr and in the north-central Bering Sea as well (Balsiger, 1981). At that tune, bumpy shrimp provided the major share of the catch from the Gulf of Anadyr and along the Koryak coast of the western Bering Sea (Balsiger, 1981). Since 1967, shrimp stocks in the eastern Bering Sea have remained depressed, despite the lack of a directed fishery since 1967. Little is known about the stock status of pandalids in the western Bering Sea. Historically, most of the shrimp catch from Alaskan waters has come from the Gulf of Alaska, particularly around Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula. The shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Alaska began in southeastern Alaska near Petersburg in l91S. The fishery principally targeted pink shrimp which were cooked, hand peeled, and frozen for special markets. The

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Human Use- Fisheries 185 spatially and over time; this method allowed higher productivity of the food resources, while preventing its disastrous depletion (although localized shortages did occur). Principle 22 of the Rio Declaration holds that "indigenous people and their communities have a vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices" (U.N Conference on Environment and Development, 1992). Formation and development of traditional resource use by indigenous people in Beringia was the result of long-term adaptation to arctic conditions. Accordingly, understanding of the historic, economic and ethical validity of the northern native peoples' experience is by all means essential for sustainable development of the Bering Sea area (Rational Resources Use, 1987). In this regard a difference between the two main aspects of Beringia coastal cultures-their environmental knowledge and their practice of resource Use sholil~l he token into Rent {Kr'~^nilr 1(]Q~ 1989; Pika et al., 1993). Environmental experience, also referred to as "traditional knowledge," is an aggregation of notions and natives' rational knowledge about the connection between humans and nature. This comprehensive wisdom is based on day-to-day empirical observations acquired by generations. Environmental experience is reflected in ethical principles of a community, its religion, and its traditional rituals. General ethical principles of Beringia dwellers as well as most northern natives exclude the senseless destruction of natural resources. Relating to nature as a "large habitation" has always been a characteristic of their personality (Taksami, 1988). The coastal cultures of Beringia incorporated a complex of animalistic perceptions, which were reflected in a number of protective cults and ritual traditions. An extremely careful (nearly sacred) attitude towards food is confirmed by ethnographic sources (Ethnographic materials, 1978; Bogoraz-Tan, 1934) and direct surveys of Russian scholars (Krupnik, 1989). Environmental behavior, or the actual use of resources, does not necessarily reflect acquired environmental experience and sometimes is in serious contradiction to it. Popular belief that indigenous cultures existed in absolute harmony with nature does not have historical support from the western side of Beringia. Natural conditions of the area (climatic cycles, length of time for environmental restoration in cold conditions) can cause instability in the resource base. To counteract that feature, native communities had to adopt a mode of spatial expansion and active exploitation of food sources in order to provide a "reserve of stability" necessary for critical periods. Krupnik (1984, 1989) has shown that their exploitation of natural resources had negative impacts at times. Successful years, when food harvests were two or three times their needs, were often followed by poor hunting seasons with food shortages. Native food supply was affected both by their own exploitation of these resources and by European exploitation. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, after Russian colonization of the area, sea otters and Steller sea lions were depleted and Steller sea cows were exterminated. As many as 35,000 sea otter pelts were traded by Russia between 1746 and 1763, and about 1,500,000 fur seals were killed on the Pribilof Islands in the five-veer n~rinr1 from 1 7(~R In 1 fin? (I. Krupnik, personal communication). ~^ ^ ~__~ ~\~ ~4 In, ~ ~ In, Under certain conditions Eskimos and Chukchi communities were able to disturb the local ecosystem balance (see, for example, Simenstad et al., 1978 for an analysis of the population and community effects of prehistoric Aleut hunting of sea otters). In the 1700s and 1800s, both before and after the peak of American whaling, native maritime hunting affected the status of marine mammal populations. Hunters of Greenland whales, walruses, and other pinnipeds usually aimed at the most accessible

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186 The Bering Sea Ecosystem animals pregnant or nursing females, and cubs. In the 1920s, for instance, hunting pressure of Chukotka natives on stocks of marine mammals reached a level at which populations were not being replaced, and by the 1930s had significantly exceeded these levels. The history of Beringia shows that to survive under the extremely unstable environmental conditions, native communities had to use all available means of social and technological adaptation. The cultures of Asian Eskimos and coastal Chukchis were historically based upon active, comprehensive, symbiotic, and interchangeable systems of resource use. This system of resource use with specific modes of settlements and lifestyles was consistent, even after Russian colonization of Chukotka dating back to the eighteen century (Essays on the history.... 1974), although natural fluctuations and overexploitation by the indigenous peoples created hardships at times. Substantial changes in the life of local communities were brought about later by the Soviet policy of "socialist reconstruction." In the 1930s, several governmental decrees on social and economic development of the area were adopted, and hundreds of millions of rubles were invested in the creation of industrial enterprises. Huge migrations of new settlers from central Russia and forced collectivization and resettlement of the indigenous populations were reflected in population dynamics, in lifestyle changes, and in a decay of traditional systems of resource use. (As described by Naske and Slotn~ck [1987], Western contact with indigenous Alaskans had somewhat similar effects.) The Soviet socioeconomic policies brought indigenous people to the edge of depopulation. Once the main ethnic group (99 percent in 1926), Asian Eskimos and Chukchis became minorities in their homeland: in 1989, of 164,800 inhabitants of Chukotka, only 17,400 (10 percent) were native (Numbers and Composition of the Peonles of the North. 19901 --r~~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~r~ ~ ~ Most Chukotka inhabitants are temporary laborers, and over 70 percent of the people live there less Than 10 years. Under "socialist reconstruction", the pattern of settlement has been also radically changed. Previously the Russian coastal zone was densely populated and developed; the 1926 census identified 195 native settlements (Results of the 1926-1927 Census of Northern Borderlands of the Far-Eastern Area, 1929). Coastal villages and habitations were located within walking distance from each other, within easy reach of high concentrations of several types of subsistence fish and game. After the famous 1957 decree "On the measures of further development of economics and culture of the people of the North," most of the traditional settlements were liquidated. Natives were forcefully resettled into small towns and multinational settlements specializing in fur farming (Vidovin, 1965). The system of new settlements was not compatible with traditional activities, and the settlements were not in easy reach of bountiful subsistence animals or areas of their families historic traditions. There are few villages left at the coast of the Bering Sea along with several scientific monitoring stations (Krupnik, 1989). These settlements are at a distance of 100 to 150 km from each other and are no longer economically associated. Maritime hunting reached its peak in the 1950s when an industrial basis was established. In accordance with state government plans, the annual production of marine mammal meat by local communities reached 30,000 to 40,000 t. But quite soon maritime hunting became a prerogative of the industrial sector. The use of specialized technology caused a depletion of stocks, and in less than a decade hunting by ships ended (Volfson, 1987). This extremely short period of industrialized maritime hunting negatively affected numbers of marine fauna in the Bering Sea (Pike et al., 1993). At the same fume, indigenous people began losing their traditions

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Human Use Fisheries 187 of hunting and fishing. The number of native maritime hunters diminished from 700 in the early 1960s to 200 in 1985 (History and Culture of Chukchis, 1987), and the numbers of species taken (especially seals) were reduced. Coastal whaling by natives ended in the 1950s. The whales needed by local communities are taken by vessel-factory "Zvezdnyi," while the indigenous people participate only in its transportation to the land. United States-Alaska While the prehistory of Alaska shares many of the same traditions as the Russian native groups, three principal groups of Eskimos inhabit the Bering Sea coast of Alaska. Each may have developed independently over a long period of time from common ancestors. The people referred to as Inuit live on Alaskan lands northeast of the Aleutian Islands all the way up the coast to the North Slope, then across the northern coast to Canada. Based on linguistics, the Inuit who live north of Norton Sound on the Bering Sea belong to the Inupiat, while the Yupik live to the south (Ivey and Duyan, 1991). The natives living along the Aleutian Island chain are known as Aleuts. The Aleut, Yupik, and Inupiat have their own separate languages. Historically, village locations were chosen by Alaska natives on the basis of seasonal food gathering (subsistence), the availability of seasonal foods, and trading routes. Western Inupiat lived primarily on salmon and seals. Arctic coastal Inupiat lived mostly on whale, seal, and walrus meat. Inland Inupiat and Indians lived on caribou, birds, and small game. Other food items such as eggs, roots, greens, and berries were collected by all groups (Ivey & Duyan, 1991). Contact with western culture and people first occurred in Alaska in the 1700s and 1800s when Russian explorers and traders came to Alaska. Although Bering's explorations did not establish Russian sovereignty, Siberian fur traders succeeded in eventually forcing their way eastward along the Aleutians to the mainland of Alaska. Hunting in the Aleutians had depleted fox and sea otter which caused expansion of trapping to Kodiak Island by 1762. In 1784, a Russian company was established on Kodiak to provide furs from the Alaskan Islands and mainland. The company, called the Russian-American Company, became a state monopoly in 1799 (Tikhemenev, 1863) and moved its headquarters to Sitka in 1800. Russian expeditions continued up the Alaskan coast to Norton Sound by 1819. Thus, by the middle of the nineteenth century, southwestern Alaska had been generally mapped, and the Alaska native population had become involved in the coastal fur trade. Russian Orthodox missionaries followed the traders and the Eskimo communities had become aware of Christianity through that influence. After 1850 commercial whalers came to the region in large numbers each summer. The whalers traded with coastal natives and many were employed both on the vessels, and at coastal stations. Trade goods such as flour, crackers, tobacco, matches, firearms and molasses were a principal form of local payment. While the United States bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867, its influence on Alaskan life came primarily from interactions with natives due to whaling, mining, and salmon fishing and canning (after 1880). Modern American culture made significant inroads to Inupiat and Aleut village culture after World War II. In the Bering Sea, commercial exploitation of marine mammals began soon after the voyage of Vitus Bering in 1741. Hunting by Russians, Americans, and Europeans rapidly

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The Bering Sea Ecosystem resulted in the extinction of one species (the Steller sea cow) and the severe depletion of several others (sea otters, fur seals, walrus, and right, bowhead, and gray whales). More recently, some marine mammal species have also been harvested for commercial purposes (see review in Loughlin and Miller, 1989). The effects of Euro-American overexploitation of marine resources were devastating to native populations. For example, according to Igor Krupnik (personal communication), "between 1845 and 1880, American commercial whalers killed some 10,000 bowhead whales in the North Bering Sea-Bering Strait area and the same amount of right whales in the Sea of Okhotsk and the adjacent areas of the Bering Sea." They severely depleted gray whales, and "as a result, the native people of the area [on both sides of the Bering Sea] suffered enormous hardship, with hundreds (if not thousands) perishing through starvation . . . between 1878 and 1882." Naske and Slotnick (1987) wrote "Whalers, who had been present even during the Russian days, eventually decimated the whales." Euro-American hunters also hunted walruses, killing an estimated 200,000 of them between 1860 and 1880 (Naske and Slotnick, 1987), and encouraged the natives to take part. Eventually, "they discarded their age-old practice of killing only those animals needed for food. Their efficiency in slaughter was enhanced by the guns they obtained from the whites. Whole villages were threatened with starvation" (Naske and Slotnick, 1987). The overexploitation of salmon also affected the natives; according to Naske and Slotnick (1987), the annual production of salmon had risen to about 2.5 million cases each containing 48 1-lb cans by 1900, and averaged 4.8 million cases per year during the 1920s and just under 7 million in the mid-1930s. They reported that this intense exploitation resulted serious damage to the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the region, and resulted in many high-level meetings between officials in Washington, D.C. and Alaska on how to resolve the "salmon problem." The most recent human take of marine mammals has been by commercial fishermen. Marine mammals may be caught incidentally in several types of commercial fishing gear (Young et al., 1993). Some have been killed intentionally by fishermen either because the mammals were used for bait or because they were perceived as damaging to fishing gear or stealing fish (Perez and Loughlin, 1991; Alverson, 1992). Accounts of Harvesting by Species and Species-Groups Steller Sea Lion Before 1959, virtually all taking of Steller sea lions was for subsistence. Midden records indicate that use was intense and that hunting pressure may have reduced sea lion numbers in some areas (Interagency Task Force, 1978). Until recently, however, subsistence catches were not systematically documented. Haynes and Mishler (1991) summarized the fragmentary data available at that time and estimated that the total annual catch of 25 communities was probably around 300 to 400 animals. A statewide monitoring program in Alaska, instituted in 1992, estunated the annual take at 548 animals (Wolfe, 1993). Most of these animals were taken in the Aleutian-Pribilof region.

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Human Use Fisheries 189 Steller sea lions on the Pribilof Islands were apparently heavily exploited beginning in the late 1700s as a result of Russian occupation. Sparse records indicate that many thousands of animals were taken for meat and hides. The once large population was greatly depleted, and relatively few animals were taken after 1900. Small numbers of pups were taken at a rookery on St. Paul Island in 1949 and 1950 (Kenyon, 19621. In 1959, the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries took 616 animals, principally adult males, from rookeries between Kodiak Island and Unimak Island as part of an experimental harvest (Thorsteinson and Lensink, 1962). Between 1963 and 1972, a reported 45,178 pups were taken at several rookeries in this region (Merrick et al., 1987). Significant takes of sea lions in commercial fisheries probably did not begin until after 1950, when the fisheries off Alaska began a period of explosive growth (Alverson, 1992). Records of the number of animals that may have been taken incidentally in fishing gear and intentionally shot are incomplete. Perez and Loughlin (1991) estimated that over 20,000 animals were incidentally caught in foreign and joint-venture trawl fisheries during 1966 to 1988. Matkin and Pay (1980) estimated that 305 sea lions were shot while interfering with fishing operations in the Copper River salmon gill net fishery in the spring of 1978. In recent years, the levels of both incidental and intentional taking have been considerably lower (Wynne, 1990; NMFS' unpublished data). Alverson (1992) estimated that approximately 140,000 sea lions were killed by all human activities between 1960 and 1990. According to his estimates, most of these were from commercial fishery (45,178), incidental takes and shootings to protect gear in the trawl and salmon fisheries (43,976), and indiscriminate shootings associated with fisheries (34,000). Northern Fur Seal The history of northern fur seal catch has been well documented (Figure 5.9; Lander, 1980; York, 1987). Subsequent to the discovery of the Pribilof Islands, Russians took an average of about 40,000 fur seals on the island rookeries each year using Aleut labor. The numbers taken dropped after 1820, but increased greatly after the purchase of Alaska by the United States in 1867. Unregulated catches resulted in nearly 250,000 fur seals being taken in 1868-69, after which regulations were passed that controlled the catch on the Pribilofs. From 1868 until 1911 over 600,000 animals were taken from the oceans. In 1911 the Treaty for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals and Sea Otters ended the pelagic catch and controlled the take on land. The convention was not renewed after it expired in 1984, and since 1985 the only catches have been by Pribilof Island residents for subsistence purposes. Annual catches since 1911 are shown in Table 5.6. Considerable numbers of northern fur seals were incidentally caught in salmon and squid drift nets fished on the high seas beginning in the 1970s. Estimated catches in some years exceeded 2,000 animals (NMFS, 1993a). Fur seals have been caught only occasionally in trawl fisheries (Perez and Loughlin, 19911.

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190 The Bering Sea Ecosystem 120 _ 1 C: Totel heU 80 _ / ,:1 60 ~ L~ hill or.~rr_~/ _ 20 o - - ~ 140r o 1 ~1 ,~ 1 20 - 1X 80 60 ~0 20 ~ _ C~ d Pr~tHIof l~br" (1 "6) ~ 1 7i~ \ 1810 1820 1830 1840 U~_ - t" H~' eo - ~rd~ ~V t" Ra - _ ^__ ~ 1 C~av It7~l, - ' (lr - -l"7l ,..' S _ r ~ bad and pclegec ~ca/.ng \ Land kill onlY ;, ., ~, V ''' / / ~ ~ _reo eom~c~l lur - 't / Al~b P - et~ _ I I I 1' ' I ~ I I J t850 1860 1870 1880 1890 He,~ ,. - ,,c, - ~ at,_,,, ^__. Pe_c __ C~_. ~ ~ - b ~11~511) ~ te - _ 1~' ~' ~Ic u~ h 1's he~ - t ~_~, VIc - ~t No h - ~ - t 1~2 `~'f e~e h - ~ 885 1895 1905 ~ ~85 _ J P~ ~_ 151 t C~ 1~. - ~1 - , C~ ',~1011' ll'11_l - 1' u5. ~Il - J_~ - O) , - ~_ 1ff, Figure 5.9 History of northern fur seal exploitation, Pribilof Islands, Alaska, 1786-79 (data are five-year averages) (York, 1987).

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Human Use-Fisheries Table 5.6 Total number of fur seals taken annually on the Pribilof Islands, 1911-93 Year Total K0l Year Total K0l 1911 11,899 1952 63,870 1912 3,169 1953 66,068 1913 2,406 1954 63,882 1914 2,735 1955 65,453 1915 3,947 1956 122,826 1916 6,466 1957 93,661 1917 8,169 1958 75,797 1918 34,890 1959 58,257 1919 27,790 1960 40,635 1920 26,648 1961 126,046 1921 23,656 1962 97,440 1922 31,152 1963 86,338 1923 15,854 1964 65,432 1924 17,189 1965 52,554 1925 19,839 1966 52,888 1926 22,088 1967 65,816 1927 24,916 1968 58,960 1928 31,061 1969 38,908 1929 40,068 1970 42,241 1930 42,497 1971 31,849 1931 49,516 1972 37,393 1932 49,329 1973 28,482 1933 54,550 1974 33,027 1934 53,468 1975 29,148 1935 57,296 1976 23,296 1936 52,446 1977 28,794 1937 55,180 1978 25,183 1938 58,364 1979 26,113 1939 60,473 1980 24,677 1940 64,856 1981 24,276 1941 95,013 1982 25,177 1942 150 1983 26,268 1943 117,164 1984 22,416 1944 47,652 1985 3,713 1945 76,964 1986 1,439 1946 64,523 1987 1,802 1947 61,447 1988 1,258 1948 70,142 1989 1,521 1949 70,890 1990 1,241 1950 60,090 1991 1~926 1951 60,689 1992 1,676 1993 1,837 Source: NMFS, unpublished data. 191

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192 Harbor Seal The Bering Sea Ecosystem From 1927 to 1967 U.S. federal and state governments paid a bounty on seals to encourage catches. Bounty records did not distinguish harbor seals from other species, but assuming that most of the seals submitted for bounty in the southeast and central/southwest Alaska districts were harbor seals, annual kills ranged from about 2,500 to 12,000 during 1927-52 (Wolfe, 1993). In the early 1960s, Alaskan harbor seal skins were sold on the European fur market and catches increased substantially. Estimated yearly catches climbed from between 6,000 and 10,000 before 1963 to over 50,000 in 1965 (Interagency Task Force, 1978). Many of these animals were pups taken at large haulouts such as Bristol Bay. Reduced prices for raw skins resulted in decreased catches (i.e., 8,000 to 10,000 per year). An additional 38,444 seals were reported killed on the Stikine, Taku, and Copper river deltas during 1951 to 1959, in a predator control program (Wolfe, 1993). For the most part, subsistence catches of harbor seals have not been systematically monitored. Estimates of annual catches for the 1970s and early 1980s range from 500 to 2,500 (Hoover, 1988b). A detailed study reported that 2,867 seals were killed by subsistence hunters in Alaska during 1992 (Wolfe, 1993). Fifty-eight percent of the take occurred in southeast Alaska. There is relatively little information on takes of harbor seals by commercial fisheries. Young and others (1993) cited reports of takes of 1,729 in 1978 and 2,800 in 1979, but kills of less than 100 in 1990 and 1991. Matkin and Fay (1980) estimated that about 500 harbor seals were killed or seriously injured in interactions with salmon drift net fisheries in Prince William Sound and the Copper River delta in 1978. Wynne (1990) reported that seal interactions with these fisheries were much less frequent in 1988 and 1989. Apparently harbor seals are only rarely caught in trawl fisheries (Sease, 1992). Ice-Associated Seals In the United States, the only catches of ice-associated seals have been for subsistence purposes. Annual catches for all species through 1972 were estimated to range from about 15,000 to 21,000, consisting of about 65 percent ringed seals, 20 percent spotted seals, 15 percent bearded seals, and a few ribbon seals (Interagency Task Force, 1978). Catches generally declined after 1972. Kelly (1988a) considered that the annual take of ringed seals in Alaska during the mid-1980s probably exceeded 3,000. Burns (1981) estimated the average annual take of bearded seals in Alaska during 1966-77 as 1,784. Soviet/Russian shore and ship-based hunters have taken substantial numbers of ice- associated seals. In the Bering Sea, ship-based fishing began in 1961. Catches of ringed seals in the 1970s and 1980s were generally 1,000 to 2,000 animals in each of the Bering and Chukchi seas (Kelly, 1988a). Shore-based hunters along Chukotka took about 1,000 bearded seals a year, whereas ship-based catches in the Bering and Chukchi seas ranged from about 1,000 to 7,000 per year (Kelly, 1988b). For ribbon seals, ship-based catches averaged 9,971 from 1961 to 1967 and then declined to an average of 2,933 during 1969 to 1982 (Kelly, 1988c). Ship-based catches of spotted seals in the Bering Sea ranged from 1,000 to 5,000 per year during 1969 to

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Human Use Fisheries 193 1983 (Quakenbush, 1988). Ice-associated seals are seldom taken in commercial fisheries (Young et al., 19931. V`7aIrus Before the introduction of modern weapons and equipment, the subsistence catches of walrus by indigenous peoples of the Bering-Chukchi region were probably quite small. Commercial exploitation of the Pacific walrus population apparently began in the mid-seventeenth century and continued at a relatively low level through the mid-1980s (Fay et al., 1989). Fishing intensified after the purchase of Alaska from Russia, as American whalers pursued bowhead whales in the Bering and Chukchi seas, and averaged more than 12,000 animals per year during 1869-79. These figures do not include animals that were wounded or killed but not retrieved. Catches by whalers virtually ceased after 1880, probably because of scarcity of walrus and declining demand for walrus oil. Catches from 1880 through 1930 were largely unrecorded, although they may have been large enough to have some impact on the population (Fay et al., 1989). Detailed records of Pacific walrus catches by the Soviet Union/Russia and the United States during 1931 to 1989 have been compiled by Fay and Bowlby (1994). The Alaskan take was generally less than 2,000 animals per year through 1974, and somewhat higher after that. The total annual Soviet/Russian catches have varied considerably, from less than 1,000 to over 8,000. However, some estimated 200,000 walruses were killed by Alaska native hunters off the Chukchi Peninsula between 1931 and 1961 (Krylov, 1968). These figures represent only the number retrieved and do not include animals killed but lost. Pacific walrus are occasionally taken incidentally to commercial fishing, especially in bottom trawls (Young et al., 1993). Sea Otter Indigenous people living around the North Pacific rim have taken sea otters for thousands of years. In at least some areas, fishing pressure was apparently great enough to cause local reductions in sea otter numbers and at least temporarily to restructure subtidal biological communities (Simenstad et al., 1978). Intense commercial exploitation of sea otters began in the mid-1700s and continued virtually unregulated until 1911. Records are incomplete, but it is likely that about 500,000 animals were taken over this period (Kenyon, 1969). In 1911, all hunting except that by Alaska natives was prohibited by the Treaty for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals and Sea Otters. During 1962 to 1970, the State of Alaska conducted an experimental harvest program that took about 2~500 animals from densely populated islands in the Aleutians (Interagency Task Force' 1978). Since 1972' the only catches have been by Alaska natives for subsistence and production of handicrafts. Catches have increased somewhat in recent years, generally amounting to several hundred animals per year (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unpublished data).

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194 The Bering Sea Ecosystem Alaskan sea otters are sometimes taken incidentally in commercial fisheries, especially gill net fisheries, but the number taken is relatively small (Young et al., 1993). Whales Bowhead and gray and beluga whales have been hunted by aboriginal people of the Bering Sea region for at least the last 2,000 years (Krupnik, 1984; Stoker and Kmpnik, 1993). Bowhead and beluga whales continue to be a valued subsistence resource for Alaska natives, with an average of 23 bowhead whales landed each year between 1973 and 1994 at nine major whaling villages (Marine Mammal Commission, 1995). In Me 1960s, the USSR began a government hunt of gray whales to provide food for coastal Siberian Eskimos, with an average take of about 165 per year; only a few gray whales are taken each year by Alaska natives (Wolman and Rice, 1979). Commercial hunting of gray whales began in the bays and lagoons along the coast of Baja Califorrua in 1845-46 (Henderson, 1984). It is estimated that over 5,000 whales were killed in the lagoons in the 11 hunting seasons beginning in the winter of 1854-55. Because Me hunting was conducted in calving areas, a large part of the catch was adult females (calves were not included in catch figures), and thus the population was rapidly depleted. The last significant catches were made in the early 1870s, by which tune the major calving lagoons were essentially devoid of whales (Henderson, 1984). Relatively few gray whales were taken by pelagic whaling operations (Reeves, 1984). Commercial exploitation of baleen whales in Alaska began In the mid-1800s, when American whalers discovered abundant stocks of bowheads In the northern Bering Sea, and right whales in the southeastern Bering Sea and western Gulf of Alaska (Bockstoce and Bums, 1993). Bowheads were depleted in the Bering Sea in the first 10 years after their discovery in 1848. By the end of the century, bowheads were greatly reduced in both Bering and Chukchi seas, and right whales were nearly extinct. Limited whaling took place in Alaska during Me first half of the twentieth century from a few shore-based stations in the eastern Aleutians and Gulf of Alaska. Following the end of World War II, however, Japanese and Russian pelagic whaling in the North Pacific expanded rapidly, targeting sperm and large baleen whales, particularly blue, fin, set, and humpback whales. Intensive exploitation of baleen whales began in waters around Japan, spread norm along the Kuril Islands to the southwestern Bering Sea, and then spread east along Me Aleutians. Rich feeding grounds of whales were discovered in the Bering Sea and eastern Aleutians in the mid-1950s and in the Gulf of Alaska in the early 1960s (e.g., see Figure 4.29), and large catches of fin and set whales were made (see Figure 4.30). Most whaling ended with international regulation imposed in 1975, by which time stocks of all large whales in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska were severely depleted. Estimated total catches in the North Pacific during the 1950s 4 Approximately 55 percent of bowheads struck during this period were landed; the proportion has increased in recent years to more than 70 percent. The quota has recently been raised from 52 animals struck and 41 landed per year to 68 struck and 55 landed in 1995; the landings quota will remain at 55 through 1998 but the strikes permitted will decrease to 65 in 1998 (Marine Mammal Commission, l99S).

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Human Use Fisheries 195 to 1970s included 5,761 blue whales, more than 26,040 fin whales, 74,215 set whales, and 30,143 humpback whales (NMFS, l991b). The number, and particularly the biomass, of humpback and blue whales removed was not an insignificant proportion of the total for all baleen whales removed from the northern Gulf of Alaska, Aleutians, and Bering Sea. In addition to baleen whales, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were heavily exploited in the North Pacific Ocean in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Between 1956 and 1976, more than 210,000 sperm whales were killed in the North Pacific, with many thousands of those killed in the Bering Sea (I. Krupoik, personal communication). Even those killed outside the Bering Sea (as is true with other whales) might have affected the Bering Sea ecosystem (including its human inhabitants) because they are migratory. The net result of this exploitation, which began in earnest in the eighteenth century, has been an enormous reduction in the numbers of whales in the Bering Sea.