50 CFR § 18.23 - Native exemptions.

§ 18.23 Native exemptions.

(a)Taking. Except as otherwise provided in part 403 of this title, any Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo who resides in Alaska and who dwells on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean or the Arctic Ocean may take any marine mammal without a permit, subject to the restrictions contained in this section, if such taking is:

(1) For subsistence purposes, or

(2) For purposes of creating and selling authentic native articles of handicraft and clothing, and

(3) In each case, not accomplished in a wasteful manner.

(b)Restrictions.

(1) “Except for a transfer to a duly authorized representative of the Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for scientific research purposes, no marine mammal taken for subsistence may be sold or otherwise transferred to any person other than an Alaskan Native or delivered, carried, transported, or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, unless:

(i) It is being sent by an Alaskan Native directly or through a registered agent to a tannery registered under paragraph (c) of this section for the purpose of processing, and will be returned directly or through a registered agent to the Alaskan Native; or

(ii) It is sold or transferred to a registered agent in Alaska for resale or transfer to an Alaskan Native; or

(iii) It is an edible portion and it is sold in an Alaskan Native village or town.

(2) “Except for a transfer to a duly authorized representative of the Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for scientific research purposes, no marine mammal taken for purposes of creating and selling authentic Native articles of handicraft and clothing may be sold or otherwise transferred to any person other than an Indian, Aleut or Eskimo, or delivered, carried, transported or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, unless:

(i) It is being sent by an Indian, Aleut or Eskimo directly or through a registered agent to a tannery registered under paragraph (c) of this section for the purpose of processing, and will be returned directly or through a registered agent to the Indian, Aleut or Eskimo; or

(ii) It is sold or transferred to a registered agent for resale or transfer to an Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo; or

(iii) It has been first transformed into an authentic Native article of handicraft or clothing; or

(iv) It is an edible portion and it is sold (A) in an Alaskan Native village or town or (B) to an Alaskan Native for his consumption.

(c) The restriction in paragraph (b) shall not apply to parts or products of the Pacific walrus (Odobenis rosmarus) to the extent that the waiver of the moratorium and the approved State/Federal regulations relating to the taking and importation of walrus permits the delivery, sale, transportation or shipment of parts or products of the Pacific walrus in interstate or foreign commerce.

(d) Any tannery, or person who wishes to act as an agent, within the jurisdiction of the United States may apply to the Director for registration as a tannery or an agent which may possess and process marine mammal products for Indians, Aleuts, or Eskimos. The application shall include the following information:

(1) The name and address of the applicant;

(2) A description of the applicant's procedures for receiving, storing, processing, and shipping materials;

(3) A proposal for a system of bookkeeping and/or inventory segregation by which the applicant could maintain accurate records of marine mammals received from Indians, Aleuts, or Eskimos, pursuant to this section;

(4) Such other information as the Director may request;

(5) A certification in the following language:

I hereby certify that the foregoing information is complete, true, and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. I understand that this information is submitted for the purpose of obtaining the benefit of an exception under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361-1407) and regulations promulgated thereunder, and that any false statement may subject me to the criminal penalties of 18 U.S.C. 1001.

(6) The signature of the applicant.

The sufficiency of the application shall be determined by the Director, and in that connection, he may waive any requirement for information, or require any elaboration or further information deemed necessary. The registration of a tannery or other agent shall be subject to the conditions as the Director prescribes, which may include, but are not limited to provisions regarding records, inventory segregation, reports, and inspection. The Director may charge a reasonable fee for such applications, including an appropriate apportionment of overhead and administrative expenses of the Department of Interior.

(e) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, whenever, under the Act, the Secretary determines any species or stock of marine mammals to be depleted, he may prescribe regulations pursuant to section 103 of the Act upon the taking of such marine mammals by any Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo and, after promulgation of such regulations, all takings of such marine mammals by such person shall conform to such regulations.

(f)Marking, tagging, and reporting.

(1) In addition to definitions contained in the Act, 50 CFR 18.3, and 50 CFR 18.27, in this paragraph (f):

(i) The term “marking and tagging” of marine mammals as specified in section 109(i) of the Act refers to the actual physical attachment of an approved band or other such marking device or technique to the raw or unhandicrafted (including unmarked tanned skins) skin and skull of polar bears, the tusks of walruses, and the skin and skull of sea otters; and

(ii) The term “reporting” means the collection by Service personnel or the Service's authorized local representatives of biological data, harvest data, and other information regarding the effect of taking of marine mammals on populations, the collection of which the Service determines to be necessary for management purposes. Reporting will be done on forms provided by the Service upon presentation for marking, tagging, and reporting purposes of the marine mammal(s) or specified raw or unhandicrafted parts thereof.

(2) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, but subject to the provisions and conditions contained in this paragraph, no polar bear, walrus, or sea otter, or any parts thereof, taken or collected by an Alaskan Native for subsistence purposes or for purposes of creating and selling authentic Native articles of handicrafts and clothing may be possessed, transported within, or exported from Alaska unless the animal(s), or specified parts thereof, have been reported to, and properly marked and tagged by, Service personnel or the Service's authorized local representative; except:

(i) An Alaskan Native that harvested or participated in the harvest of a polar bear, sea otter, or walrus and who possesses the animal, or any parts thereof, may possess the unmarked, untagged, and unreported animal(s), or parts thereof, for a period of time not to exceed 30 days from the time of taking for the purpose of transporting the specified parts to Service personnel or the Service's local authorized representative for marking, tagging, and reporting;

(ii)Alaskan Natives and registered agents/tanneries may possess the specified unmarked or untagged raw, unhandicrafted, or tanned parts thereof for a period of time not to exceed 180 days from the effective date of this rulemaking for the purpose of transporting to Service personnel or the Service's local authorized representative for marking and tagging if the specified parts thereof were taken or possessed between December 21, 1972, and the effective date of this regulation. There is no reporting requirement for marine mammals, or specified parts thereof, covered by this paragraph.

(3) Those unmarked, untagged, and unreported specified parts of polar bear, walrus, and sea otter, that must be presented to Service personnel or an authorized Service representative for marking, tagging, and reporting are as follows:

(i) Polar bear - skin and skull.

(ii) Walrus - tusks.

(iii) Sea otter - skin and skull.

(4) The locations where Service personnel or the Service's authorized local representative will be available for marking, tagging, and reporting purposes will be announced annually by the Alaska Regional Director. Local persons authorized to act as representatives for marking, tagging, and reporting purposes in the absence of Service personnel will also be announced annually by the Alaska Regional Director.

(5) Marks and tags will be attached or applied to the skins, skulls, and tusks of the marine mammal(s) in such a manner as to maximize their longevity and minimize their adverse effects to the appearance of the specified parts that might result due to hindering the tanning or handicrafting of skins, or the handicrafting of tusks or skulls. If the tag or mark comes off of the specified part the person in possession of the part shall have 30 days to present the part and broken tag or other marking device to the Service or the Service's authorized local representative for remarking or retagging purposes.

(6) Marks and tags for skins, skulls, and tusks will be provided by the Service. They will be numbered for accountability and of such design, construction, and material so as to maximize their durability and longevity on the specified parts.

(7) Data collected pursuant to this paragraph will be reported on forms provided by the Service and maintained in the Service's Regional Office, Anchorage, Alaska. The Service will summarize the data annually and make it publicly available. The data will also be included in the Service's annual report to Congress as set forth in section 103(f) of the Act.

(8) All items of research (e.g., radio collars, satellite transmitters, tags, etc.) that were attached to animals taken by Alaskan Natives must be returned to Service personnel or an authorized Service representative at the time the animal, or specified unhandicrafted parts thereof, are presented for marking, tagging, and reporting. No penalty will be imposed under the Act for a violation of this paragraph. However, penalties may be sought by the Service under other applicable Federal laws governing the possession and use of Federal property.

(9) Pursuant to this paragraph (f), the following specific conditions and provisions apply:

(i) Marking, tagging, and reporting of polar bears or specified parts thereof.

(A) The skin and skull of an animal must accompany each other when presented for marking, tagging, and reporting except that the skin and skull of an animal need not be presented together for marking and tagging purposes if taken between December 21, 1972, and the effective date of this regulation.

(B) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section, the following information must be reported by Alaskan Natives when presenting polar bears, or specified parts thereof, for marking and tagging: sex of animal, date of kill, and location of kill.

(C) Both the skin and the skull will be marked and tagged and a rudimentary pre-molar tooth may be removed from the skull and retained by the Service. The skin must have the sex identifiers, such as vaginal orifice, teats, or penal sheath or baculum, either attached to, or accompanying the skin.

(D) The skull must be skinned out and the skin may be frozen or unfrozen when presented for marking, tagging, and reporting. If the skin is frozen, the sex identifiers, such as vaginal orifice, teats, penal sheath or baculum, must be visible.

(E) Marks and tags must remain affixed to the skin through the tanning process and until the skin has been severed into parts for crafting into handicrafts or for as long as is practical during the handicrafting process.

(ii) Marking, tagging, and reporting of walrus or specified parts thereof.

(A) The paired tusks of the animal(s) must, to the maximum extent practical, accompany each other when presented for marking, tagging, and reporting purposes, except that paired tusks need not be presented together for marking and tagging purposes if taken between December 21, 1972, and the effective date of this regulation.

(B) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section, the following information must be reported by Alaskan Natives when presenting walrus, or specified parts thereof, for marking and tagging: date of take, sex of animal, whether live-killed, floating-dead, or beach-found, and location of the take or location of animal if found floating and dead or beach-found.

(C) Marks and/or tags must remain affixed to the tusks until they have been crafted into a handicraft or for as long as is practical during the handicrafting process.

(iii) Marking, tagging, and reporting of sea otter or specified parts thereof.

(A) The skin and skull of an animal must accompany each other when presented for marking, tagging, and reporting, except that the skin and skull of an animal need not be presented together if taken between December 21, 1972, and the effective date of this regulation.

(B) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section, the following information must be reported by Alaskan Natives when presenting sea otters, or specified parts thereof, for marking and tagging: date of kill, sex of animal, and location of kill.

(C) Both the skin and skull will be marked and tagged and a rudimentary pre-molar tooth may be removed from the skull and retained by the Service. The skin must have the sex identifiers, such as vaginal orifice, teats, or penal sheath or baculum, either attached to, or accompanying the skin.

(D) The skull must be skinned out and the skin may be frozen or unfrozen when presented for marking, tagging, and reporting. If the skin is frozen, the sex identifiers, such as vaginal orifice, teats, or penal sheath or baculum, must be visible.

(E) Marks and tags must remain affixed to the skin through the tanning process and until the skin has been severed into parts for crafting into handicrafts or for as long as is practical during the handicrafting process.

(10) No person may falsify any information required to be set forth on the reporting form when the marine mammal(s), or specified parts thereof, are presented as required by these regulations.

(11) Possession by any person of marine mammal(s), or any parts thereof, in violation of the provisions and conditions of this § 18.23(f) is subject to punishment under the penalties provided for in section 105(a)(1) of the Act.

(12) The information collection requirements contained in this § 18.23(f) have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501et seq. and assigned clearance number 1018-0066. The information is mandatory in order to have the marine mammal parts “marked and tagged,” and thereby made eligible for continued lawful possession. Non-response may result in the Service determining the wildlife to be illegally possessed and subject the individual to penalties under this title.

[39 FR 7262, Feb. 25, 1974, as amended at 40 FR 59444, Dec. 24, 1975; 45 FR 54057, Aug. 14, 1980; 51 FR 17981, May 16, 1986; 53 FR 24283, June 28, 1988]