Update on Walrus at Cape Greig

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Sell.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Sell.

On May 13, 2016, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) issued a news release about the walrus haul out at Cape Greig.  Current plans are to operate the fishery in a normal fashion.  Read the full release here.

On May 11, 2016, Fishery Advisor for the Lake and Peninsula Borough, Chuck McCallum, gave this update which includes some more detail and was drafted with input from ADF&G:

For the past month walrus have periodically been using the beach about a quarter of a mile north of Cape Grieg, and near Ugashik District of Bristol Bay.  This is not an established haul out. The presence of these animals has raised concern about potential impact on the salmon fishery. At this time ADF&G does not anticipate any change to how the fishery is managed.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which has authority over walrus protection issues, is monitoring the animals and has not expressed significant concerns at this point.

The USFWS “Guidelines for Marine Vessel Operations Near Pacific Walrus Haulouts in Bristol Bay” recommends that no fishing activity should occur within 3 miles of a haul out.  However, the State is not obligated to set their fishing regulations using this 3 mile guideline and at this time does not anticipate any change to how the fishery is managed. In other areas where walrus are present ADF&G opens the fishery and mariners/fishermen are responsible for avoiding interactions with animals. Any enforcement is conducted by federal agencies.

These are, however, speculations at this point and no one should make business decisions based on these opinions.  Stand by for ADF&G announcements regarding Ugashik District fishing.