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Makah Nation requests funds for whaling personnel

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The Makah tribe is requesting $70,000 in federal funding for a whaling manager and a consultant who is developing documents in preparation for a new international whaling quota. A temporary manager has been employed intermittently in recent years but the tribe anticipates a greater need for the position when the International Whaling Commission sets a five-year whaling quota this spring, Makah Natural Resources Director Dave Sones said Jan. 18. "We're expecting with the new quota up for the five-year period, we'll probably have a lot of attention focused on the issue again," he said. The Makah resumed their traditional hunting for gray whales in 1998 after a 70-year lull - a move that sparked strong protests from anti-whaling activists. So far the Makah have taken one whale, in May 1999. Sones requested $37,960 for a full-time manager to help the tribal council in public relations and work with the Makah Whaling Commission. Another $11,904 would pay for a consultant who is already working with the tribe to develop a whaling-needs statement for the IWC's May meeting in Japan. The rest of the money would cover benefits and administrative costs, Sones said. The tribe submitted its request in November to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service. The Makah also are requesting a $1.2 million patrol boat for research on marine mammals and fish. That request has drawn criticism from anti-whaling activists who contend the vessel would make the Makah more efficient hunters and killers of whales.