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Marine Mammal Protection Act

  • By: Susan L. Smith
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., enacted in 1972, protects all marine mammals from being taken within waters controlled by the United States and by U.S. citizens on the high seas. It also forbids importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the United States. Marine mammals protected by the act include cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses). Other protected marine mammals include polar bears, sea otters, and manatees.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act safeguards animals like the Florida manatee, shown in this 2008 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photograph.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries within the Department of Commerce is responsible for the protection, conservation, and ...

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