Reports for Protected Species Permits
A description of annual and final reports for scientific research, enhancement, and commercial photography permits for marine mammals and certain endangered and threatened species.
Permits for protected species issued under Section 104 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act require the permit holder to submit reports.
Check your permit to determine when, what, and how you must report. Your permit may require you to provide specific information in addition to the standard reporting questions. Contact your permit analyst if you have questions.
If you applied for your permit using APPS, our online system, we recommend you use APPS to submit your report.
Applicable Permit Types
Below is the description of the annual and final report, if you have one of the following permits:
- Scientific research or enhancement permit for marine mammals, Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, sea turtles, or sawfish.
- Letter of Confirmation under the General Authorization for scientific research on marine mammals.
- Commercial or educational photography permit for marine mammals.
If you have a different type of permit, please refer to your permit or contact the office that issued your permit for report guidance.
Each year, you must submit an annual report that is composed of 2 parts: a tabular section and a narrative section. You will receive an automatic email reminding you when your report is due. Keep in mind that reports are a requirement of your permit. If you fail to submit your report on time, your permit could be suspended.
Annual Report: Tabular Section
For the first part of your annual report, you will be asked to report how many animals you took. If completing your report in APPS, you will see your take table and the number of animals you were authorized over the year. Next to that, enter how many animals you actually took for those activities. Consult the guidance in your permit for how to count take.
For example, perhaps you were authorized to capture 45 shortnose sturgeon during the year and you only caught 40. Or you were authorized to biopsy sample 20 blue whales and you sampled 18 during the year.
Annual Report: Narrative Section
For the narrative part, you will be asked to answer the questions below. Provide complete answers to the best of your ability. If a question is not applicable, explain why. We acknowledge that monitoring during and after certain activities is often opportunistic.
1. What progress did you make toward meeting your objectives this year?
- Summarize which permitted activities you did and did not do.
- Did you meet your sample sizes? Explain. For example, if you used less than 50% of your annual takes, describe why those takes were unused.
- Did you conduct repeated surveys in the same location? Elaborate.
- How many individuals did you intentionally take multiple times and by what methods?
- Were you able to have samples analyzed, did your tags successfully transmit data, etc.?
- Did you identify any new threats to the conservation or recovery of a species or DPS?
- Were you able to make progress in analyzing and/or publishing your data?
- List citations for any new reports, publications, and presentations. We may request electronic copies.
2. Describe the following observations during your activities:
- The physical condition of the animals you encountered and conducted procedures or activities on.
- How the animals reacted to specific procedures or activities. Describe normal and abnormal responses of target and non-target animals.
- Where possible, provide quantitative data and estimate the proportion of animals (%) that had those physical conditions or reactions.
3. Explain your efforts to conduct follow-up monitoring. Report your findings. Photographs are useful to document things like wound healing.
We are especially interested in:
- Animal responses to new or novel procedures or activities.
- Time it takes to resume normal behavior after harassment.
- Time it takes to re-populate rookeries or haul outs after harassment.
- Condition of animals when resighted or recaptured.
- Recovery from sedation and/or handling and post-release behavior.
- Healing at site of invasive sampling (e.g., biopsy).
- Healing at site of invasive tag deployment (e.g., surgical tag implants requiring sutures, remotely deployed dart/barb, deep-implant, medial ridge, and pygal tags).
- Tag retention and tag breakage (i.e., is the tag still attached and what condition is the tag in?).
4. Answer and discuss the following:
- Did serious injuries or mortalities occur?
- Did you exceed the number of takes authorized in any row of the take table?
- Did you take animals in a manner not authorized in the permit?
- Did you take a protected species you were not permitted?
If so, and you already submitted an incident report, please briefly describe the event here and refer to the incident report.
If such an incident occurred and you have not yet reported it, provide:
- A full description of the incident (date and location of event; species and circumstances of how the take occurred; photographs; necropsy and histopathology reports, or other information to confirm cause of death or extent of injuries; etc.).
- Steps that were or will be taken to reduce the possibility of it happening again.
5. Describe any other problems encountered during this reporting period and steps taken or proposed to resolve them. Examples include equipment failure, weather delays, safety issues, and unanticipated effects to habitats or other species.
6. Discuss your efforts to coordinate and collaborate with others:
- Which NMFS Regional Office(s) and permit holder(s) did you contact for coordination?
- How did you collaborate (e.g., avoiding field work at the same time or working together on the same animals, sharing vessels, sharing data)?
Cetacean Invasive Tagging Narrative
If you are conducting invasive tagging (dart/barb or deep-implant) on ESA-listed cetaceans, you will also need to answer this additional set of reporting questions:
- For each ESA-listed species or DPS, provide how many dart/barb tags were:
- Successfully deployed (i.e., remained attached and collected data to achieve your objectives).
- Unsuccessfully deployed (i.e., failed to attach, briefly attached, or failed to transmit data)
2. For each ESA-listed species or DPS, provide how many deep-implant tags were:
- Successfully deployed (i.e., remained attached and collected data to achieve your objectives).
- Unsuccessfully deployed (i.e., failed to attach, briefly attached, or failed to transmit data).
3. Did you always deploy tags in the intended location on the body? If not, please describe and discuss the following:
- Why and how often this occurred.
- Where the tags were deployed on the body.
- The potential for serious injury (e.g., sensitive areas, if the location of the tag was near blood vessels or in an area with inadequate blubber thickness).
4. If not already included in your response to the standard annual report question No. 3, describe your efforts and results of post-tag monitoring of animals instrumented with invasive tags to assess the following:
- The location on the body and condition of the tag (including breakage).
- Tag wound reaction and healing (e.g., severity of swelling, depressions, and coloration).
- Animal health and behavior.
- Fecundity (presence of calf).
After your permit has expired, you will submit a combined annual/final report. The report will have a tabular section and the 6 questions above, exactly like an annual report. In addition, you will be asked to respond to these 5 questions:
1. Did you meet your objectives for the permit? What did you learn?
2. If you did not meet your objectives, explain why. For example, if you did not tag or mark as many animals as needed to meet your sample size, explain why and how that impacted your ability to meet the goals of your study.
3. For ESA-listed or MMPA-depleted target species: Explain how the results of your permitted work benefitted or promoted their recovery or conservation. How did your research contribute to fulfilling Recovery or Conservation Plan objectives (as applicable)? Explain.
4. Did you identify any additional or improved mitigation measures?
5. (Optional) We appreciate any feedback on APPS and your permit. For example, did you have any problems using APPS? Were any permit conditions difficult to comply with or unclear? Were your permitted take numbers appropriate?
Reports are due on the date listed in your permit. You will receive a reminder email 30 days before your report is due.
We highly recommend you submit your report via APPS.
If you choose not to submit your report online, contact your permit analyst for an electronic version of the report form and send your report:
- By email attachment to your permit analyst. Or
- By hard copy mailed to the Chief, Permits Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Suite 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)427-8401.
Paperwork Reduction Act and Confidentiality Information
All permit documentation, including the application, permit and amendments, reports, inventory information, and any other associated documents are considered public information and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
For annual permit reports, NOAA Fisheries estimates average response time at 12 hours per report. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Control Number. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the following:
- Permits for non-salmon species in the U.S.
OMB No. 0648-0084. Expires 11/30/2023.
Chief, Permits Conservation and Education Division
Office of Protected Resources – F/PR1
1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705
Silver Spring, MD 20910
If you have questions about reporting, please contact your permit analyst. If you're not sure who that is, contact the Permits and Conservation Division at 301-427-8401.