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NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center (Marine Mammal Laboratory), in collaboration with the Alaska Beluga Whale Committee and the North Slope Borough, will be conducting aerial surveys for the Eastern Bering Sea stock of belugas in Norton Sound and near the Yukon River Delta, Alaska.
Through the surveys, NOAA hopes to derive an updated population estimate for this stock of belugas. Surveys of this area last took place in 2000. Managers and subsistence users need to know whether the population size has stayed the same, increased, or decreased. Knowing the trend in population size will help managers maintain a healthy beluga whale population.
NOAA scientists will be conducting this important survey from June 16 to 29, out of Nome, Alaska, with pilots and aircraft from Clearwater Air.