Belugas are harvested by Alaska Natives living in coastal villages from Tyonek in Cook Inlet to Kaktovik in the Beaufort Sea. Hunting is done in spring as whales travel northward through leads in the ice, as well as during the summer and autumn open-water period.
Belugas are principally used for human consumption, either as meat or “maktak,” which consists of skin and the outer layer of blubber. The oil is used for cooking and for fuel. Beluga bones are sometimes used in crafts. The meat may also be used as dog food.