Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was enacted on October 21, 1972. All marine mammals are protected under the MMPA. The MMPA prohibits, with certain exceptions, the "take" of marine mammals in U.S. waters and by U.S. citizens on the high seas, and the importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S.
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MMPA Fact Sheet
Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 based on the following findings and policies:
- Some marine mammal species or stocks may be in danger of extinction or depletion as a result of human activities;
- These species or stocks must not be permitted to fall below their optimum sustainable population level ("depleted");
- Measures should be taken to replenish these species or stocks;
- There is inadequate knowledge of the ecology and population dynamics; and
- Marine mammals have proven to be resources of great international significance.
The MMPA was amended substantially in 1994 to provide for:
- Certain exceptions to the take prohibitions, including for small takes incidental to specified activities, when access by Alaska Natives to marine mammal subsistence resources can be preserved, and permits and authorizations for scientific research;
- A program to authorize and control the taking of marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing operations;
- Preparation of stock assessments for all marine mammal stocks in waters under U.S. jurisdiction; and
- Studies of pinniped-fishery interactions.
Policies, Guidances, and Regulations
- Reauthorization of the MMPA
- MMPA Annual Report Archive
- Marine Mammals Listed Under the Endangered Species Act
- Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports
Updated: July 18, 2011