A U.S. tribe wants to resume whale hunts. Will conservationists support them?
A federal report has moved the Makah Tribe a step closer to hunting gray whales again—a practice central to their culture and protected by an 1855 treaty, but snarled in red tape for the last 17 years.
For 17 years, the Makah, a tribal nation in northwestern Washington State, have waited for the federal government to decide whether they can resume hunting whales, which is central to their culture. Laws that protect endangered species and marine mammals have prevented them from whaling—even as the population they want to hunt has recovered.
On July 1, the federal government released a draft environmental impact statement suggesting that permission will be likely be granted as early as next year. The report lays out a “preferred” decision that waives the prohibitions on whaling in the Marine Mammal Protection Act for up to 12 whales over six years. Additional restrictions on the timing and place of the