Feds review annual whaling quotas for Alaska Native hunters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Federal officials are reviewing annual quotas for 11 Alaska Native villages whose subsistence hunters are authorized to harvest bowhead whales.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the public has until Sept. 14 to comment on catch limits for a six-year period to begin in 2019.

The International Whaling Commission, which has final say on quotas for subsistence harvesting of large whales, meets next in Brazil in 2018.

NOAA spokesman Chris Rogers says the routine environmental impact statement being prepared will help his agency decide how Alaska's share of catch limits are allocated. The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission decides how the quotas are actually split among the whaling communities.

A federal notice posted Aug. 15 by NOAA fisheries lists four possible alternatives to be considered, including not allowing any quotas.

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