Cooperative Transboundary Bering Sea Steller Sealion Surveys

a group of sealions on shore
A Steller Sea Lion Bull

NPS / Bill Thompson

Partner: Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Michael Rehberg
Duration: 3 years (2021-2023)

As a result of recent unprecedentedly low sea ice coverage, Steller sea lions are extending their seasonal occupation of the Bering Strait region as well as expanding their range northward. Coastal communities of Chukotka and Alaska that rely on the harvest of these marine mammals for nutritional, cultural, and economic well-being, are observing rapid changes in their shared marine ecosystem, but transboundary communications and information exchange remain challenging and constrained at this time of ecological change. This project will facilitate transboundary Steller sea lion surveys by 1) organizing an in-person workshop in Nome, Alaska for members of subsistence communities on the Chukotkan and Alaskan coasts to exchange knowledge of marine resources; 2) collecting field data on St. Lawrence Island and at Chukotka haulouts; and 3) holding community meetings in Gambell and Savoonga. Summaries of field data collection, workshop and community meeting results will be collaboratively produced and shared with communities.

Russian Component: At least one of the field surveys will occur in Chukotka. A workshop in Nome will include Russian indigenous knowledge holders who will offer their insights and observations. The final report will be translated into Russian and/or Siberian Yupik.

Last updated: October 14, 2020