United States-Russian Federation

Commission of the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Conservation and Management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population

Subpopulation: Chukchi Sea (Alaska-Chukotka)

Photo credit: USFWSThe U.S.-Russia Agreement establishes the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission, which makes management decisions, establishes taking limits, and carries out other responsibilities under the Agreement.

Responsibilities of the Commission Include:

  • Facilitating cooperation for the implementation of the Agreement between the Parties and indigenous peoples.
  • Adopting measures to restrict the take of polar bears for subsistence purposes within the framework of the established annual taking limits, including seasons and restrictions on sex and age.
  • Identifying the habitats of polar bears and developing recommendations for their conservation.
  • Consideration of research programs, including joint programs, on the study, preservation and monitoring of polar bears.
  • Examining information and scientific data on polar bears, including information on harvested polar bears, including in cases of a threat to human life.
  • Preparing and distributing materials on the conservation of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population
  • Performing other functions necessary and appropriate for implementation of the Agreement.

The Commission is composed of four members with each country having one Native and one federal representative.

The Commission has met annually since 2009. At a meeting in June 2010, the Commission placed an upper harvest limit of 58 polar bears (19 female and 39 male) from the Alaska-Chukotka population, and split evenly between Native peoples of Alaska and Chukotka. This harvest limit was re-established by the Commission annually until 2017. In 2018, following the recommendation of the Scientific Working Group (SWG) that the Commission establish a sustainable harvest level based on new biological information, the Commission adopted an annual quota of 85 polar bears, no more than one-third of which are female.

Commission meeting reports and Rules of Procedure:

Scientific Working Group (SWG)


Member state contacts

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