The Makah Tribe of Washington is getting closer to being allowed to hunt gray whales again.
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The tribe has a legal right to hunt whales based on an 1855 treaty and last legally hunted a whale for ceremonial purposes in 1999.
Under a proposal that NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region announced Thursday, the tribe could hunt and land up to two gray whales on average per year over a 10-year period for ceremonial and subsistence purposes.
So far, it’s only a proposal, but it does move the tribe closer to its goal.
NOAA Fisheries says an administrative law judge must first conduct a hearing to review the proposal and make a recommendation to NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver. Oliver will then make a decision on whether the tribe will be allowed to conduct a hunt.
Anyone who is interested may request to participate in the Aug.12 hearing.
If the tribe gets authorization to hunt gray whales, it would then need to apply for a permit, which would be subject to public notice and comment.