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Help for beachcombers: Legal to salvage, or no?

  • Author: Mike Campbell
  • Updated: September 12, 2017
  • Published September 12, 2017

A tide pool is devoid of sea stars on the south side of Kachemak Bay, near Bear Cove, on Sunday, July 9, 2017. (Charles Wohlforth / Alaska Dispatch News)

A new guide sheet from Alaska Sea Grant aims to help Alaska beachcombers who encounter dead marine mammals, tusks or bones while walking along the shore.

Alaska Natives are allowed to salvage all parts of dead marine mammals for subsistence. Non-Natives may not — they're restricted to certain parts from certain animals.

"People don't understand the legalities, it's so complex," Gay Sheffield, Alaska Sea Grant's Marine Advisory Program agent in Nome, said in a press release. Her two-page guide, called "Collecting Dead Marine Mammal Parts While Beachcombing," aims to untangle the complexities. Download it for free from the Alaska Sea Grant website.

Beware, the rules may change. For instance, on Sept. 30 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to decide whether to grant protections to the Pacific walrus under the Endangered Species Act.

Sheffield belongs to the Alaska Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a group that gathers information on dead marine mammals for national data depositories.

Sheffield and National Marine Fisheries Service staff handed out drafts of the beachcombing bulletin at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. "I'm excited to see this get out to the public," she said.

Prince William Sound shrimp season ends

The summer-long season for sport and subsistence shrimpers in Prince William Sound will close Friday night.

Shrimpers must turn in their harvest reports by Oct. 15. That can be done online, by hand or mailed in. Call Jay Baumer at 907-267-2265 or Brittany Blain at 907-267-2186 with questions.