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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Tuman alaĝux^ agliisaax^tan (Take care of the ocean): A new vision for Indigenous co-management in marine waters of the US


The Pribilof Islands are among the most unique and important places in the world. These islands provide vital breeding and feeding habitat for more than half of the world’s population of laaqudan (as they are called in Unangam Tunuu, Native language of the community), or northern fur seals, as well as important habitat for qawan, or Steller sea lions, and isuĝin, or harbor seals. More than three million san, or seabirds, flock to the islands during the summer months. By virtue of their position straddling the continental shelf and deeper ocean waters of the Bering Sea, the islands play a central role in creating the productive ocean zone that supports some of the world’s largest and most profitable commercial fisheries. This irreplaceable region has experienced centuries of anthropogenic disturbances that have steadily shifted the ecosystem away from its natural stability. Today, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government (ACSPI) is taking steps to restore and sustain Unangax̂ ways of life, mitigate the impacts of climate change in the region, and enact economic policies that eliminate waste and reduce the overuse of resources in the marine environment. Here we provide a case study of our efforts towards using existing US regulations to secure protections for our marine environment.

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