Marine Mammal Protection Act Policies, Guidance, and Regulations

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.

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Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals

Policies, Guidance, or Regulation
Title Date Document
Policy for Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals 2012 PDF, 4 pages
Process for Injury Determination Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals 2012 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
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Stock Assessment Reports

Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports (GAMMS)
Title Date Document
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
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Stranding Response and Marine Mammal Health

Policies and Best Practices for Marine Mammal Stranding Response, Rehabilitation, and Release
Title Date Document
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

 

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Implementing Regulations

Title Date Document
Regulations Governing the Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals various 50 CFR 216

 

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