Pacific walrus management in a world of changing climate : Experiences and observations from King Island walrus hunters Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9p290f722

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  • In 1997, the Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) established a formal cooperative agreement for the conservation and management of Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). This arrangement facilitates the transfer of funds from Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act via the USFWS to the EWC to establish working groups and a few on-the-ground initiatives. The King Island Native Community of Nome, Alaska is one of many traditional walrus hunting societies represented by the EWC. King Island hunters provide strong evidence, through long standing observations and interactions with their environment, that climate change is affecting walrus and the walrus subsistence hunt. In order to effectively address the potential consequences of climate change on the Pacific walrus, the EWC-USFWS cooperative agreement must evolve into a more flexible cooperative management arrangement. I suggest that adaptive co-management be the more flexible arrangement. Adaptive co-management is based on the equal sharing of power and responsibility between government and indigenous resource users in which a high level of dependence upon each other exists, mutual benefit is recognized, knowledge is shared, and uncertainty in the environment is answered by adaptive research and management practices and policies. The implementation of effective adaptive comanagement will be a key factor influencing the extent to which the walrus subsistence economy can be sustained in the years ahead.
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