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Policy Regarding Non-Essential Personnel

Alaska Whale Foundation (AWF) operates under a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) permit to conduct scientific research on federally protected species. Under this permit, AWF can collaborate with film teams and other Non-Essential Personnel (NEP) whose goals include producing media for commercial release; however, collaborating NEP must:

  • Provide an outline, in writing and at least 45 days in advance of filming, of the nature of the production, filming objectives, approximate dates and locations, and number and roles of participating individuals.

  • Make available to AWF all resulting media for scientific analysis. 

  • Allow AWF to review all final productions prior to airing for scientific accuracy and to ensure footage does not misrepresent activities or suggest permit violations. 

  • Ensure all distributed media collected under permit is accompanied by a statement indicating that the activity was conducted “pursuant to NMFS ESA/MMPA Permit No. 19703 (or appropriate)”.

  • Notify AWF at least 30 days in advance when productions are to be aired.


Additionally, NEP:

  • Must be accompanied by the Permit Holder and/or a designated Co-Investigator during all permitted activities.

  • Cannot influence the conduct of permitted activities or lead to takes of protected species.


Media Review: NEP should facilitate the media review process by developing a timeline with AWF in advance of filming for furnishing and reviewing raw footage, rough cuts, transcripts/narrations and the final production. It is recommended that NEPs provide access to low resolution proxies while field activities are ongoing or shortly thereafter so problematic footage can be identified at an early stage in the production’s development. If problematic content is identified, AWF will provide in writing a list of concerns and recommendations for how those concerns should be addressed. It is the NEPs responsibility to ensure that those concerns are addressed prior to airing the final production. A record of such communications will be maintained and provided to NMFS, if necessary.

Fees: Depending on the nature of the production and how it integrates into AWFs primary research objectives, there may be:


  • Personnel fees for Principal/Co Investigators, FAA-licensed drone pilots, NMFS-permitted taggers, and/or other field team members that are necessary for the production’s success.

  • Administration fees for contract development, producing NEP-requested documents, and permit reporting.

  • Consultation fees for planning field logistics, developing scientific content and reviewing media. 

  • Field expenses (i.e., fuel, food provisions, travel, lodging and vessel charters).

  • Licensing fees for archived footage (i.e., footage collected on AWF cameras not hired for the production). 

By clicking HERE you acknowledge you have read and agree to the terms of AWF's Policy Regarding Non-Essential Personnel

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