Empirical estimation of safe aboriginal whaling limits for bowhead whales

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Geof H. Givens

Abstract

This paper provides a complete description of a Strike Limit Algorithm (SLA) considered by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for the management of hunting of the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas stock of bowhead whales by native Alaskans to meet their cultural and subsistence needs. The algorithm applies a statistical estimation and optimisation strategy to extract the best features of selected SLAs to form a Bayes rule estimator. It focuses on safely satisfying moderate subsistence need, while favouring stock protection by setting strike limits below what would be required to fully satisfy need in the final portion of this century if need were more than doubled.

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