The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 allows Alaska Natives residing in Alaska and dwelling on the coast to harvest marine mammals for subsistence or handicraft purposes. It also authorizes the Secretary of Interior to prescribe marking, tagging, and reporting regulations applicable to the Alaska Native subsistence and handicraft take of polar bears, northern sea otters, and Pacific walruses. The information collected helps ensure the long-term survival of these species by monitoring the harvest and controlling the illegal take, trade, and transport of marine mammal parts. The Alaska Marine Mammals Management Marking, Tagging, and Reporting Program (MTRP) oversees marking, tagging, and reporting activities related to Alaska Native harvest of polar bears, northern sea otters, and Pacific walruses. The MTRP does not oversee tagging of walrus ivory found on beaches by people who are not Alaska Native; see the link at the bottom of the page for information on beach-found ivory, and call the Service's Alaska Regional Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) at 907-786-3311 or OLE contact Chris Andrews at 907-271-6456 to register beach-found parts.
Marking and Tagging
The actual physical attachment of an approved band or other such marking device or technique to the raw or unhandicrafted (including unmarked tanned skins) skin and skull of polar bears, the tusks of walruses, and the skin and skull of sea otters.
The collection by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel or authorized local representatives of biological data, harvest data, and other information regarding the effect of harvest on populations (necessary for management purposes). Authorized resident taggers located in about 100 coastal villages and communities throughout Alaska are also active in the Walrus Harvest Monitoring Program that monitors the annual spring walrus hunt in several Alaskan villages. They record information on the animals taken in the hunt, collect biological samples and assist in tagging the ivory of the harvested walruses.
View the contact list of authorized resident taggers by location here. Contact a tagger for assistance — do not bring items for tagging to a USFWS office without an appointment. Note these taggers are not appropriate points of contact for walrus ivory found on beaches by people who are not Alaska Native (MTRP tagging is limited to marine mammals harvested or found by Alaska Native people). Resident taggers are also active in the Walrus Harvest Monitoring Program that monitors the annual spring walrus hunt in several Alaskan villages. The representatives record information on the animals taken in the hunt, collect biological samples and assist in tagging the ivory of the harvested walruses. Annual reports are available by contacting our office at (907) 786-3819 or toll-free at (800) 362-5148.
Related: Beach Found Marine Mammal Parts FAQ