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What does take mean under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and what is incidental take?

Take as defined under the MMPA means "to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal" (16 U.S.C. 1362)

It is further defined by regulation (50 CFR 216.3) as “to harass, hunt, capture, collect, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, collect, or kill any marine mammal. This includes, without limitation, any of the following:

  • The collection of dead animals, or parts thereof.

  • The restraint or detention of a marine mammal, no matter how temporary.

  • Tagging a marine mammal.

  • The negligent or intentional operation of an aircraft or vessel.

  • The doing of any other negligent or intentional act which results in disturbing or molesting a marine mammal.

  • Feeding or attempting to feed a marine mammal in the wild.”

An incidental take is an unintentional, but not unexpected, taking.