Harbor Seal Commission
Welcome to the Alaska Native
Harbor Seal Commission website...
|Our Mission Statement:
"To ensure that harbor seals remain an essential
cultural,spiritual,and nutritional element of our
traditional way of life, and to promote the health of
harbor seals in order to carry forward the cultural,
spiritual, and nutritional traditions of Alaska Natives."
|The Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission
Organized in 1995 as a nonprofit tribal consortium comprised of Alaska Native
communities within the harbor seal habitat range. The overall goal of the commission is to
strengthen and increase the role of Alaska Natives in resource management and
decisions affecting the harbor seals and their uses. The Commission helps foster this
through our co-management agreement for data analysis, population monitoring and
The Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission also educates the public on Alaska Natives
and their traditional way of life. Alaska Natives are concerned about the stewardship of
their wildlife resources as well as, preserving their traditional way of life. The Alaska
Native Harbor Seal Commission also educates the public on traditional use of marine
mammals including non-wasteful hunting practices. If you would like to assist us in our
efforts to conserve our natural resources and preserve our cultural heritage through our
education and outreach efforts you can make a secure online donation by clicking on the
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Harbor Seal Program would
like to encourage all seal hunters to contact ADF&G or ANHSC if they harvest a
harbor seal that has plastic identification tags attached to its hind flippers. All
seals captured and released by ADF&G for research purposes have a colored
tag with a number on it attached to each hind flipper.
Letting us know the color and number of each tag and which flipper (right or
left) it is attached to provides us with important data on harbor seal movements
and gives us the opportunity to share information with the hunter about when
and where the seal was captured , and most importantly, if the seal is safe to
consume. We administer sedatives and pain-relieving drugs to many of the
seals that we capture before we collect biological samples to assess their
health, diet, and body condition. Because there is no research on how quickly
seals can eliminate these drugs from their system, the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) recommends not consuming seal products within 45 days
of the capture date, if drugs were administered.
Please contact Christine Schmale (ADF&G) 907-465-5027, Shawna Karpovich
(ADF&G) 907-459-7239, Gail Blundell (ADF&G) 907-465-4345 or Joni Bryant
(ANHSC) 907-345-0555 to report harvested seals with flipper tags. We look
forward to hearing from you.
Identification tags attached to harbor seal flippers. Every captured seal has a
tag attached to each hind flipper. The two tags will be different colors, and
may or may not have the same number.
PRESS RELEASE NORTHERN ICE SEAL/WALRUS
CLICK HERE TO LEARN
about the Seal/ Walrus Sickness in the North. The press release is
from NOAA , a ring seal pup was Found in Yakutat Alaska, There is
has been no Reports of Harbor Seals sick, Seal hunters are asked
to be on the look out for the symptoms. Please use contact info
provided on link...
Be assured the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission is
committed to the health and safety of our communities and the
people that rely on the seal for life.
Tomungnak “one who has it together”, Charlie Johnson
By Monica Riedel
If I had fear of failing or concerns about my work at the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission, Charlie would say, “If you’re not making
mistakes, you’re not doing anything!” That’s how Charlie was to me, very motivating. When I felt like I was tired or discouraged, he would
say, “Just keep doing what you’re doing!”
I met Charlie in the early 90’s when I was fighting for our rights to use sea otter fur for making traditional Alaska Native garments,
specifically parkas. I was called to testify on behalf of Alaska Natives to prove that it was within “living memory” that we used sea otter fur
in Prince William Sound. I attended hearings and meetings at RurAL CAP with the US Fish & Wildlife service and Native leaders.
Among them was a nice Inuit man in a suit named Charlie Johnson. He was working on walrus issues with the late Caleb Pungowiyi and
the late Mathew Iya. I remember I attended a meeting with them at the Egan Center to talk about walrus harvests. There were federal
agents wearing guns meeting with these Inuit leaders. I was scared and I really didn’t know what to say. Later, I told Charlie my fear and
he said “it doesn’t matter, just the fact that you are here matters”.
I was privileged to learn negotiating principles from him, and with such finesse. I watched him work in meeting after meeting in
Washington DC after a long trip and some nightcaps. He never missed a talking point never stuttered or made a slip of the message we
were bringing on behalf of our marine mammal hunters. He was a pro!
He was a highly respected statesman with a brilliant mind all with a sense of humor and more importantly, courtesy to those he met.
Charlie organized the Eskimos Walrus Commission and then the Alaska Nanuuq Commission. He was instrumental in organizing the
Indigenous Peoples Council for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM) in the early 1990’s. He negotiated the 1994 amendments to the Marine
Mammal Protection Act and was part of the team that negotiated the 1997 “Umbrella Agreement”, a guide for Alaska Native Organizations
(ANO’s) to use when entering into co-management agreements with the Federal Agencies.
Charlie set the bar for the rest of us when he negotiated and finalized the International Polar Bear Treaty between Russia, Canada and the
US. It was stated that this treaty was the most diplomatic relationship between Russia and the US in recent history. Charlie made a huge
difference in the lives of Chukotka Inuit people by making their participation in this agreement mandatory.
I am most grateful to Charlie for mentoring me during the negotiations for the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission/National Marine
Fisheries Service Section 119 Co-Management Agreement, signed in 1999.
He also advised me on administering grants and running the Indigenous People’s Council for Marine Mammals for 8 years. I learned how
to write congressional testimony, how to conduct myself in meetings with senators, congressmen, and offices of the state department in
Washington D.C. Basically, how to be professional, courteous, to the point, and most of all on time and brief!
Charlie was a statesman, a gentleman, a scholar, and most of all a wonderful father, husband, son, brother and uppa. He always
respected his family and he showed that by caring for the family members of his colleagues as well.
My heart goes out to Charlie’s family, his wife Brenda, his daughter Nicole and son Boogs, who will miss him more than words can say.
I will miss his happy tone when he calls me with his stories about Adrianna, Drew, his grandson Ahchuq and his other grandchildren.
Until we meet again in a parallel dimension,
Goodbye for now,
Our good friend, Charlie.