Unnamed Resolution concerning Harvest of Pinnipeds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas

WHEREAS, U. S. nationals annually harvest and have traditionally harvested approximately 15,000 seals and 1700 walruses from the Bering and Chukchi Seas, and are dependent upon five species (walrus, bearded seal, ringed seal, ribbon seal, and harbor seal) for their subsistence and an annual cash income of up to $700,000; and

WHEREAS, Soviet nationals hunting from the Siberian mainland take approximately the same number of pinnipeds and their economy is in large part based on these resources; and

WHEREAS, in addition to this shore-based subsistence hunting by both U.S. and Soviet nationals, the commercial hunting efforts from. ships operated by Soviet nationals has greatly increased since 1962 (now, at least two Soviet sealing vessels operate throughout each winter and spring) with an estimated annual harvest of 15,000 to 20,000 seals per year; and

WHEREAS, commercial hunting of this magnitude has in recent years resulted in gross overexploitation of seal stocks in the Okhotsk Sea; and

WHEREAS, Soviet and American observers are already concerned about the status of two (ribbon seal and walrus) of the five species being utilized;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists requests the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of State to initiate measures to insure the perpetuation of these pinnipeds through international regulation and management based on the results of present and future scientific investigations.