A beluga whale was harvested Sunday evening near Dillingham.
The community showed up in force.
Lines of cars brought people with their totes and trash bags.
The successful hunters shared meat with everyone who came. Processing the animal took about two hours.
It was the whole hunting party’s first time to take a beluga. The three were commercial fishing for silver salmon when they saw a pod of belugas.
“We noticed one was nosing up to the beach and trying to get salmon, so we went up right to it and fired one shot, missed and got it with the next one,” Cade Woods said.
In Little Diomede, more than 500 miles away, Rebecca Ozenna’s family celebrated the catch with a traditional dance.
“Right after we landed the beluga, I called home,” Ozenna said. “I asked them to announce it so they could celebrate for us because usually when they land whales they have a really big Eskimo dance celebration and other people from different villages come in and Eskimo dance and celebrate and feast.”
In Bristol Bay, an average of 23 belugas are reported harvested each year.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the population of belugas in the bay is stable and that number is well within a sustainable harvest size.
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- The state ferries will likely run through the winter months, avoiding a potential shutdown proposed by the Dunleavy administration.
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- Trail Mix Executive Director Erik Boraas says the goal is for the trail to be bikeable from end to end in five years.