Jude Island is about 0.2 miles (0.3 km) across and located off the Alaska Peninsula between Unga and Wosnesenski islands, about 48 miles (77 km) northeast of King Cove and 24 miles (39 km) west-southwest of Sand Point, Alaska. The island was named “Apostle Jude Island” by Captain Tebenkov, of the Imperial Russian Navy, and is so published on Russian Hydrographic charts. The island is shown as “Jude Island” on U.S. Coast and Geodetic charts published in 1882.
Jude Island is an important haulout for Steller sea lions that are listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Steller sea lion population in the western Gulf of Alaska declined by 75 percent between 1976 and 1990. The reasons for the decline are not completely understood, however, in the mid to late 20th century, fishermen were paid a $2–6 bounty for sea lions. In the 1970s, it was not unusual for fishing boats to arrive in Unalaska with dozens of sea lion noses strung together. The original purpose of the bounty was to decrease predation on commercial fish species. The numbers killed probably rose from a level of 1,500 animals per year in the late 1950s to a peak of around 4,000 animals in the early 1980s. Mortality likely decreased through the late 1980s as the sea lion population declined and public attitudes towards sea lions changed.
Fishing restrictions were established around many Western Gulf of Alaska islands in 2004 to protect Steller sea lions from extinction. Learn more about Steller sea lions here, and measures implemented in 2004 to protect them here. Explore more of Jude Island here: