United States

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US - Marine Mammals - Feeding Populations of Marine Mammals in the Wild

NMFS is issuing a final rule that amends the definition of "take" under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to include feeding marine mammals in the wild, and adds a new definition of "feeding." As a result, feeding dolphins, porpoise, whales, seals and sea lions in the wild will be prohibited unless the feeding is incidental to another activity such as the routine discard of fish bycatch or discharges from processing plants or vessels.

US - Marine Mammals - Petition to Designate the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River Stock of Beluga Whales under the MMPA Under § 1383 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. § 1361 et seq., the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Cetacean Society International, and Earth Island Institute hereby petition the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), to designate Sakhalin Bay-Amur River beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Sea of Okhotsk as a “depleted” stock. As described herein, the best scientific information available indicates that these beluga whales constitute a stock that is well below its optimum sustainable population (OSP) and, under the MMPA, qualify for such designation. The evidence also suggests that the stock continues to decline and faces a number of risk factors, providing additional impetus for such designation.
US - Marine Mammals - Preventing Harassment From Human Activities Directed at Marine Mammals in the Wild

NMFS is considering whether to propose regulations to protect marine mammals in the wild from human activities that are directed at the animals and that have the potential to harass the animals. Some of these activities include feeding wild marine mammals, and "Swim-With" programs. 

US - Marine Mammals - Protected Species Special Exception Permits

NMFS is proposing to amend the regulations for permits to capture or import marine mammals for purposes of public display under MMPA. The proposed revisions would implement amendments to the MMPA enacted in 1994, affecting marine mammals held captive for public display purposes and clarify the public display requirements relating to permits to capture or import, transport or transfer, and export marine mammals.

US - Marine Mammals - Public Display of Marine Mammals

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.

US - Marine Mammals - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals

This material from the Federal Register invites public comment on the proposed guidelines outlined by the NMFS for acceptable methods for deterring marine mammals. 

US - Marine Mammals - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental

NMFS, upon application from the University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps), is issuing regulations to govern the unintentional take of a small number of marine mammals incidental to the continued operation of a low frequency (LF) sound source by Scripps.

US - Marine Mammals - Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals

The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS, issued an affirmative finding for the Government of Mexico under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) on April 12, 2000. This affirmative finding allows importation into the United States of yellowfin tuna and yellowfin tuna products harvested in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) after March 3, 1999, by Mexican-flag purse seine vessels or vessels operating under Mexican jurisdiction greater than 400 short tons (362.8 mt) carrying capacity. The affirmative finding was based on documentary evidence submitted by the Government of Mexico and obtained from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).

US - Marine Mammals - Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals; Deterrence Regulations and Guidelines

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) Amendments of 1994 provided new authority to citizens of the United States to deter marine mammals from: Damaging fishing gear and catch; damaging private property; endangering public safety; or damaging public property. The Amendments require NMFS to publish a list of guidelines for use in safely deterring marine mammals and to prohibit deterrence measures that have a significant adverse impact on marine mammals. This proposed rule sets forth preliminary versions of the guidelines and prohibitions, and seeks public comment upon which to refine them.

US - Marine Mammals - Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals; Listing of the Northeastern Offshore Spotted Dolphin as Depleted

NMFS has determined that the northeastern stock of offshore spotted dolphin is below its maximum net productivity level (MNPL) and, therefore, is depleted as defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This determination is based on a review of the best available information.