Marine Mammal Protection Act Policies, Guidance, and Regulations
The Marine Mammal Protection Act enacted in 1972 established a national policy to prevent marine mammals from declining beyond the point where they ceased to be significant function elements of the ecosystems of which they are a part.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was enacted on October 21, 1972. The MMPA established a national policy to prevent marine mammal species and population stocks from declining beyond the point where they ceased to be significant functioning elements of the ecosystems of which they are a part.
Three federal entities share responsibility for implementing the MMPA:
NOAA Fisheries—responsible for the protection of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—responsible for the protection of walrus, manatees, sea otters, and polar bears.
Marine Mammal Commission—provides independent, science-based oversight of domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies addressing human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems.
The following is a list of the policies, guidance, and regulations we use to administer the MMPA.
Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals
|Policy for Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals||2014||PDF, 4 pages|
|Process for Injury Determination Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals||2014||PDF, 42 pages|
|Notice of Availability of National Policy||2012||77 FR 3233|
|Responses to Public Comments on Draft Policy||2012||PDF, 52 pages|
|Report of the Serious Injury Technical Workshop 10-13 September 2007, Seattle, Washington (NOAA Technical Memo NMFS-OPR-39)||2008||PDF, 108 pages|
|Differentiating serious and non-serious injury of marine mammals taken incidental to commercial fishing operations report of the serious injury workshop, 1-2 April 1997, Silver Spring, Maryland (NOAA Technical Memo NMFS-OPR-13)||1998||PDF, 53 pages|
Stock Assessment Reports
|Reviewing and Designating Stocks and Issuing Stock Assessment Reports under the Marine Mammal Protection Act||2019||PDF, 9 pages|
|Guidelines for Preparing Stock Assessment Reports Pursuant to the 1994 Amendments to the MMPA (2016 Revision, GAMMS III)||2016||PDF, 24 pages|
Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal Stocks: Report of the GAMMS III Workshop, February 15-18, 2011, La Jolla, California (NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-OPR-47)
|2011||PDF, 107 pages|
|Guidelines for Preparing Stock Assessment Reports Pursuant to the 1994 Amendments to the MMPA (2005 Revision, GAMMS II)||2005||PDF, 25 pages|
|Guidelines for assessing marine mammal stocks : report of the GAMMS Workshop, April 3-5, 1996, Seattle, Washington (NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-OPR-12)||1997||PDF, 97 pages|
|U.S. Marine Mammal Stock Assessments: Guidelines for Preparation, Background, and a Summary of the 1995 Assessments (NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-OPR-6)||1995||PDF, 80 pages|
Negligible Impact Determinations
|Criteria for Determining Negligible Impact under MMPA Section 101(a)(5)(E)||2020||PDF, 20 pages|
Stranding Response and Marine Mammal Health
|Evaluation Criteria and National Template for Marine Mammal Stranding Agreements||2009||PDF, 55 pages|
|Standards for Rehabilitation Facilities||2009||PDF, 73 pages|
|Standards for Release||2009||PDF, 114 pages|
|Disentanglement Guidelines||2009||PDF, 6 pages|
|Glossary of Best Practices for Marine Mammal Response, Rehabilitation, and Release||2009||PDF, 6 pages|
|Regulations Governing the Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals||various||50 CFR 216|