The Atlantic Walrus: Chapter 11 - Atlantic walrus management, regulation and conservation

Elsevier, The Atlantic Walrus, Multidisciplinary insights into human-animal interactions, 2021, Pages 251-262
Fern Wickson

Walrus are an important food, income and cultural resource for Arctic Indigenous communities. After heavy exploitation from commercial hunting caused dramatic population crashes, a range of management measures have been developed and applied across the North Atlantic. This has included widespread bans on commercial hunting, regulation of subsistence hunting through the introduction of licensing and quota systems, and restrictions on hunting methods and seasons. The development of reporting requirements (e.g. on catch and struck and lost animals) have also been important for improving management regimes. This short chapter presents an overview of the current management requirements regarding the hunting of Atlantic walruses. It highlights how management and regulation occur across local, national, regional and international levels and the importance of effective collaboration between hunters, scientists and managers for successful conservation. Finally, it describes the ongoing challenges for sustainable management, including the need to assess multiple and potentially cumulative stressors to obtain reliable estimates of abundance and struck and lost rates, as well as to develop joint management processes for shared stocks.