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Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, Alaska

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Alaska Natives in Yakutat oppose a decision by cruise lines to send more ships to the Hubbard Glacier this month in response to a cutback at Glacier Bay National Park. The tribe worries the move will set a precedent for more ships next year. President Bert Adams Sr. said increasing numbers of ships could hurt the resident seal population in Disenchantment Bay, site of the glacier in northern Southeast. The decision by cruise lines to make more visits to Hubbard Glacier stems from a federal court ruling ordering an immediate reduction to the number of cruise ship entries in Glacier Bay. In response, the National Park Service cut nine trips scheduled this month. The decision affected four cruise lines. That means six or seven additional cruises will visit Hubbard Glacier this month. Although the seal birthing season has passed, the Yakutat tribe fears the increase will carry over to next year's pupping season in May and June. In season, seals tend to their young on ice floes near the glacier. The tribe believes the ships are hurting the population ? an important food source for some Yakutat residents. 'The tribe has taken the position we want to see a very limited amount of activity up there,' Adams said.