The Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) was formed in 1978 by Kawerak, Inc. and represents 19 Alaskan coastal walrus hunting communities from Barrow to Bristol Bay. Initially formed as a consortium of Native hunters, the EWC is now a recognized statewide entity working on resource co-management of walrus on behalf of Alaska Natives. A cooperative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the EWC was developed in 1997 to ensure the participation of subsistence hunters in conserving and managing walrus stocks in the coastal communities. This cooperative agreement is authorized under section 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and funding for the agreement supports administrative functions of the EWC and ongoing projects in collaboration with the FWS. Since the development of the cooperative agreement, progress has been made in many areas of walrus co-management.
Through the work of the EWC, communication and collaboration between the FWS and walrus subsistence communities has been greatly improved.
EWC Mission Statement: To protect the Pacific walrus population.
What We Do
As an Alaska Native marine mammal commission and co-management entity, the work of the EWC involves providing information to member communities on the current research, politics, regulations, and issues affecting the Pacific walrus population and subsistence communities. The EWC holds one annual meeting per year with its 19 Commissioners, which provides an opportunity to ensure that the Alaska Native voice is being adequately represented in management processes, receive agency reports, discuss important issues related to walrus, and review proposals for projects. An important role of the EWC is to ensure that scientific and Traditional Knowledge research involving walrus and EWC communities is conducted responsibly, and that both are utilized effectively in management decisions regarding the Pacific walrus population. The EWC advocates on behalf of its member communities in policy forums and through participation in groups such as the Arctic Waterways Safety Committee, the Arctic Marine Mammal Coalition, and the Indigenous People’s Council on Marine Mammals.