NOAA taking public comment on Makah whaling proposal

Seattle, Washington (AP) 5-08

The National Marine Fisheries Service has released a draft of the impact statement for the Makah Tribe’s request to hunt gray whales.

The agency plans public hearings in Port Angeles, Seattle and Silver Springs, Md., to gather public comment.

In a statement, the agency says if it decides to authorize the hunting several more steps would have to be completed before it issues a permit.

The draft statement discusses a harvest of up to 20 whales in a five-year period with restrictions on the timing and locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (FEW’-kuh) near the reservation at Neah Bay.

The tribe has a treaty right to whaling and killed its first whale in 70 years in 1999. But the Makah did not have permission for the whale killed in September by five tribal members.