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Soundings Archive

NMFS Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Marine Mammal Protection Act with Article on MMPA Enforcement
The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act is 40 years old in October 2012. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service is charged with enforcing the MMPA. As part of the birthday celebration, NMFS has published an article on its criminal enforcement of the MMPA. This article explains:

"The [MMPA] prohibits, with certain exceptions, the 'take' of marine mammals and defines 'take' as 'harassment, hunting, capturing, killing or collecting,' or the attempt to do so. Violations can result in a civil penalty up to $11,000 as well as criminal penalties up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to a year or both."

NMFS' article discusses some of the difficulties in investigating violations of the MMPA. For example, "It's a big ocean, marine mammals are consumed or decompose quickly in the water, and witnesses don't come forward or even exist."

According to this article, NMFS Office of Law Enforcement opened 470 MMPA cases.

  • Click here to read NMFS' article on MMPA enforcement
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