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Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

The management of beluga whales falls under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NMFS manages Alaska’s beluga stocks through comanagement agreements with Alaska Native groups.

The Cook Inlet stock is managed through a comanagement agreement between NMFS and the Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council (CIMMC). The CIMMC was chartered by the Cook Inlet Treaty Tribes in 1994. The Council is composed of village representatives and subsistence beluga hunters within Cook Inlet.

The other four stocks are comanaged by NMFS and the Alaska Beluga Whale Committee (ABWC). The ABWC was founded in 1988 and has representatives from the areas that hunt belugas in western Alaska. Scientists and government officials also sit on the committee.