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Public Display of Marine Mammals



Country of Origin: United States

Agency of Origin: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

National Citation: 59 FR 50900

1994 WL 540866 (F.R.)


Last checked by Web Center Staff: 07/2013


Summary:  

NMFS is announcing that the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums Alliance) have submitted, for reference purposes, the professionally accepted standards on which their members base their education and conservation programs. The MMPA was amended substantially on April 30, 1994.  These 1994 Amendments require that persons holding marine mammals for purposes of public display, or requesting issuance of a permit to capture or import a marine mammal for purposes of public display, must offer a program for education or conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community.


Material in Full:

NOTICES

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

[I.D. 092994A]

Public Display of Marine Mammals

Thursday, October 6, 1994

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: NMFS is announcing that the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (Alliance) have submitted, for reference purposes, the professionally accepted standards on which their members base their education and conservation programs. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) was amended substantially on April 30, 1994 (P.L. 103-238) (1994 Amendments). These 1994 Amendments require that persons holding marine mammals for purposes of public display, or requesting issuance of a permit to capture or import a marine mammal for purposes of public display, must offer a program for education or conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community. The AZA and Alliance together represent approximately 60 percent of U.S. facilities that currently hold marine mammals. Where applicable, the AZA or Alliance standards may be referenced by public display permit applicants and holders of marine mammals when exercising the rights established and submitting the documentation required under the MMPA. If alternative standards are provided as a part of a permit application to capture or import marine mammals, such standards will be published as part of the notice of receipt of the application that is published by NMFS in the Federal Register. Other holders of marine mammals or organizations representing members of the public display community may submit, for reference purposes, alternative standards on which education or conservation programs are based.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann Terbush, Permits Division, Office of Protected Resources, F/PR1, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910- 3226, (301) 713-2289.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In 1988 the MMPA was amended to require, among other things, that a permit be issued for public display purposes only to an applicant which offers a program for education or conservation that, based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community, is acceptable to the Secretary (i.e., Secretary of Commerce or Interior, depending upon the marine mammal species involved). In March 1989, NMFS initiated a comprehensive review of the permit program. At the beginning of this permit program review, it became clear that the phrase "based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community" did not refer to any existing standards already established by the public display community. Therefore, on May 22, 1989, NMFS published in the Federal Register (54 FR 22001) a notice of interim policy regarding the education or conservation programs of applicants requesting permits to take or import marine mammals for public display. This notice announced the criteria that NMFS would use in determining the acceptability of education or conservation programs pending the promulgation of regulations for this purpose. The notice stated that in order to be determined acceptable by NMFS, "an applicant's education or conservation program must include a program of formal or informal learning that conveys accurate information about the marine mammals being displayed and communicates in an effective manner a message and purpose that are consistent with the policies of the MMPA."

After conducting a comprehensive review of the entire permit program, NMFS published a proposed rule on October 14, 1993 (58 FR 53320), to revise existing permit regulations for taking and importing marine mammals for purposes of public display, scientific research, and enhancement under the MMPA and the Endangered Species Act. This proposed rule included criteria for determining whether an applicant's education or conservation program is acceptable. These standards were based on the interim policy previously published in the Federal Register and the numerous comments and recommendations on the subject received during the permit program review.

On April 30, 1994, the 1994 Amendments to the MMPA were enacted. Under the 1994 Amendments, the requirement that applicants for a permit for purposes of public display must offer an education or conservation program acceptable to the Secretary was eliminated and replaced by a requirement that, for purposes of public display, persons holding marine mammals and those issued a permit to capture or import must "offer a program for education or conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community." Essentially, although the Secretary is no longer required to determine whether education/conservation programs are acceptable, the Secretary must still determine whether a person offers a program for education or conservation purposes based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community. To ensure compliance with this requirement of the MMPA, applicants for a public display permit to capture or import marine mammals and persons holding marine mammals for purposes of public display must identify, by reference or description, the professionally recognized standards of the public display community on which their education or conservation programs are based.

Although there are no professionally recognized standards for education or conservation programs that are uniformly accepted as such by the public display community, such standards are not required by the 1994 Amendments. The 1994 Amendments require only that for purposes of public display persons holding marine mammals or requesting a permit to capture or import marine mammals must offer a program for education or conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community. And, because any person holding marine mammals for purposes of public display is a member of the public display community and, therefore, may identify the professionally recognized standards on which their education or conservation program is based, for such persons this requirement is essentially one that relies on self-regulation. NMFS, therefore, asked the AZA and Alliance, as organizations which together represent approximately 60 percent of the public display facilities holding marine mammals, to identify the standards on which their members base their education and conservation programs. In making this request, NMFS stated that the standards identified by the AZA and Alliance would be published in the Federal Register; thus, enabling persons who offer an education or conservation program based on either the AZA or Alliance standards to use this notice as a reference instead of listing such standards repeatedly.

NMFS recognizes that the AZA and Alliance do not represent the entire public display community and that some members of that community may offer education or conservation programs based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community that are different from those identified by either the AZA or Alliance. Consequently, other members or representative organizations of the public display community may also submit, for reference purposes, alternative standards on which education or conservation programs are based. NMFS may also publish in the Federal Register notice of such alternative standards for reference by the public display community. In addition, if alternative standards are provided as a part of a permit application, such standards will be published as a part of the notice of receipt of an application and opportunity for public comment that is published by NMFS in the Federal Register.

Standards

The Alliance and AZA identified the following as the professionally recognized standards of the public display community on which their members have based their education and conservation programs:

Standards of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association

1. Education must be an element of the mission statement of the institution.

2. All institutions must have structured education programs, including a written education plan.

3. The education program should be under the direction of a paid professional trained in educational programming. In those cases where employees have not yet been retained, someone should be assigned the responsibility to implement and manage the programs.

4. Education programs should be evaluated on a regular basis for effectiveness and content and current scientific information included.

5. Cooperative programs with institutions of higher learning should be developed.

6. If animal demonstrations are a part of the institution's programs, an educational/conservation message must be incorporated.

7. A reference library appropriate to the size and complexity of the institution should be available to all staff members.

8. The graphics program must include information regarding the animal collection's conservation/ecology relation to humans/natural history and other interpretive elements.

9. Exhibits in which endangered animals are displayed must include the designation as an endangered species and those displaying Species Survival Plan (SSP) animals should include a statement that the animals are a part of AZA's SSP program. It is recommended that the SSP program be highlighted by utilization of AZA's SSP logo and text.

10. Recruitment, interviewing, training, and evaluation programs should exist for all programs utilizing volunteers/ docents.

Standards of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums

1. Education programs about marine mammals must promote an improved understanding of and an appreciation for these animals and their ecosystems.

NOTE: In addition to direct observation, a variety of other techniques and stimuli may be used to effectively communicate member programs' educational messages. These methods may include, but are not limited to, some of the following:

* Audio-visual materials

* Community outreach

* Formal education programs

* Guided tours

* Instructional guides/curricula

* Interactive exhibits/programs

* Interpretive graphics

* Narration at exhibits

* Off-site education programs

* Public presentations

* Public Shows

* Recreation programs

* Special needs programs (e.g., disabled, senior citizens)

* Species identification labels

* Teacher training

* Written materials/publications

2. Education programs about marine mammals must offer multiple levels of learning opportunities for visitors to expand their knowledge about these animals.

NOTE: Multiple levels of learning opportunities refers to providing educational information for visitors who have different levels of knowledge and interest. For example, basic introductory programming might offer viewing of animals, species identification, and/or a public show or presentation. More advanced programming might include, for example, formal education programs, guided tours, and/or written or audio-visual material designed to meet the needs of individuals who which additional information.

3. Education programs about marine mammals must present information about these animals, their ecosystem, or marine wildlife conservation that is based upon the best current scientific knowledge.

NOTE: The best current scientific knowledge refers to information based on the growing body of scientific research about marine mammals science and the basic knowledge that is professionally recognized by relevant disciplines, such as biology, physiology, anatomy, veterinary medicine, and/or animal behavior science.

4. A qualified individual must be designated and responsible for the development of, and administration of, education programs about marine mammals.

NOTE: Qualified refers to having a bachelor's degree, education experience, administrative skills, and knowledge about marine mammals.

5. Education programs about marine mammals must include a written education plan consisting of a mission statement, goals, and an evaluation strategy.

NOTE: The education plan should reflect current facility programs. Evaluations are intended for internal program review, and each facility will have discretion in determining the methods used and the scope and frequency of the evaluations.

6. Education programs about marine mammals must include availability of institution experts as a marine science resource to professional groups and the education community when appropriate and practicable.

NOTE: Public display facilities employ and collaborate with many highly knowledgeable and experienced marine mammal experts, such as animal behaviorists, veterinarians, research scientists, trainers, and marine education and other specialists. When appropriate and practicable, facilities should encourage and facilitate opportunities for these specialists to serve as marine science resources and share their expertise with interested professional groups and the education community.

Dated: September 30, 1994.

William W. Fox, Jr.,

Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

[FR Doc. 94-24787 Filed 10-5-94; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-F

 



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