ACE: Association for Cultural Evolution

Association for
Cultural Evolution

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Board of Directors






Who's Who Listing

John C. Lilly, MD.

Ruth Forbes Young

Richard Feynman




P.O. Box 2382
Mill Valley, CA 94942 USA

T: (415) 409-3220

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Marine Mammal Protection Act


Marine Mammal Protection Act

MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT of 1972, Selected Quotes:


Welcome to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau within the Department of the Interior. Our mission is to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Our major responsibilities are: migratory birds, endangered species, certain marine mammals, freshwater and anadromous fish, the National Wildlife Refuge System, wetlands, conserving habitat, and environmental contaminants.

The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory,

Marine Mammal Protection Act

Passed in 1972, the Act establishes a moratorium on taking and importing marine mammals, their parts, and products. The Act provides protection for polar bears, sea otters, walruses, dugongs, manatees, whales, porpoises, seals, and sea lions.

Under this Act it is unlawful to:

Take any marine mammal on the high seas or in waters or on lands under U.S. jurisdiction. The prohibition applies to persons, vessels, or other conveyances.

Import any marine mammal or marine mammal product into the United States.

Use any port or harbor under U.S. jurisdiction for any purpose connected with unlawful taking or importation of any marine mammal.

Possess any unlawfully taken marine mammal, including parts and products.

Transport, purchase, sell, or offer to purchase or sell any marine mammal, including parts and products.


Alaskan Aleuts, Indians, and Eskimos who reside in Alaska are permitted to take marine mammals for subsistence purposes or for use in the manufacture and sale of native hand crafts. The Secretaries of Interior and Commerce may grant permits for importation of marine mammals for scientific research or public display purposes.

Export is not prohibited, but for species listed under CITES (e.g., walrus), a "Certificate of Origin" is required prior to export of handcrafted parts, scientific specimens, or animals collected for public display.


Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year's imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations. In addition, aircraft, vessels, or other conveyances used in violations may be required to forfeit their cargo.


Marine Mammal Protection Act

Purpose and Organization

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was enacted in 1972 to protect and manage marine mammals and their products (e.g., the use of hides and meat). The primary authority for implementing the act belongs to the FWS and NMFS. The FWS manages: walruses; polar bears; sea otters; dugongs; marine otters; and West Indian, Amazonian, and West African manatees. The NMFS manages whales, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. The two agencies may issue permits under MMPA Section 104 (16 U.S.C. 1374) to persons, including federal agencies such as DOE, that authorize the taking or importing of specific species of marine mammals.

After the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce approves a state's program, the state can take over responsibility for managing one or more marine mammals. Regulations governing the transfer of responsibility were published in May 1983. Although certain states actively participate in the management of marine mammals, as of August 9, 1994, no state has fully taken on this duty.

The MMPA established a Marine Mammal Commission whose duties include reviewing laws and international conventions relating to marine mammals, studying the condition of these mammals, and recommending steps to federal officials (e.g., listing a species as endangered) that should be taken to protect marine mammals. Federal agencies are directed by MMPA Section 205 (16 U.S.C. 1405) to cooperate with the commission by permitting it to use their facilities or services.

DOE may become involved in complying with the MMPA if the department approves, licenses, or funds an energy project that will be sited in an area that will require or result in the removal, capture, hunting, or killing of marine mammals. DOE will need a permit from the appropriate agency, either the FWS or NMFS, specifying how the mammals should be handled. Also, any involvement by DOE in the direct research use of marine mammals (e.g., studies of energy development impacts on these animals) may require a permit.

Regulations implementing MMPA are found in Title 50 of the CFR, Parts 13, 18, and 216.