Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fur Seal Act of 1966

Fur Seal Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 1151-1187, P.L. 89-702, November 2, 1966, 80 Stat. 1091) as amended by P.L. 98-129, October 14, 1983, (97 Stat. 835) and P.L. 100-711, November 23, 1988 (102 Stat. 4772).

This 1966 statute prohibited, except under specified conditions, the taking, including transportation, importing or possession, of fur seals and sea otters. Exceptions are authorized for Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos who dwell on the coasts of the North Pacific Ocean, who are permitted to take fur seals and dispose of their skins. The statute also authorized the Secretary of Interior to conduct scientific research on the fur seal resources of the North Pacific Ocean.

Title II of this statute provided for the Secretary of Interior to continue to administer the Pribilof Islands as a special reservation for the purpose of conserving, managing, and protecting the North Pacific fur seal and other wildlife, and to provide the Pribilof Island natives with facilities, services, and equipment.

With respect to sea otters, the Secretary of Interior was authorized to sell sea otter skins and products forfeited to, or seized by the U.S. Proceeds are to be deposited in the Pribilof Islands Fund.

Title IV of the statute stipulated related enforcement responsibilities and established a Pribilof Islands fund for the purpose of implementing related activities.

The functions authorized by these four titles were transferred from the Secretary of Interior to the Secretary of Commerce by the 1970 Reorganization Plan No. 4.

The Fur Seal Act Amendments of 1983 (P.L. 98-129) authorized the continued taking of fur seals and disposal of their skins by Indians, Aleuts and Eskimos, provided that the seals are taken for subsistence purposes as defined by the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Title II of the amendments provided for continued administration of the islands' fur seal rookeries to protect fur seals and for the maintenance of the Pribilof Islands Trust. Title III amended related enforcement provisions.

The 1988 amendments (P.L. 100-711) authorized appropriations through FY 1990 to fund the Saint Paul Island Trust and the Saint George Trust.

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