The Secretary may enterinto cooperative agreements with Alaska Native organizations to conserve marine mammals and provide co-management of subsistence use by Alaska Natives.
Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (Public Law 103-238)
As authorized by Section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), Alaska Native Organizations and NOAA Fisheries may enter into cooperative agreements in order to co-manage marine mammals in Alaska. The Ice Seal Committee (ISC) is the federally recognized co-management organization for ice seals in Alaska.
Founded in 2004, the mission of the Ice Seal Committee (ISC) is to "preserve and enhance the marine resources of ice seals including the habitat; to protect and enhance Alaska Native culture, traditions, and especially activities associated with subsistence uses of ice seals; to undertake education and research related to ice seals."
A cooperative agreement between NOAA Fisheries and the ISC was signed in 2004, and By-Laws established in 2005. In its current configuration, the ISC consists of 10 representatives, two from each of the five regions that span ice seal range in Alaska. At least one representative from each region is an experienced ice seal hunter.
As part of its role in co-management, the ISC monitors the harvest of marine mammals for subsistence use, participates in marine mammal research, and collects/analyzes data on marine mammal populations.