50 years of the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Fifty years ago, Congress passed banner legislation designed to protect our nation’s ocean and coasts.  The legislation shaped our past 50 years and will continue to shape the future. Part of this legislation was the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which Congress passed in response to growing concerns that certain species and populations of marine mammals were in danger of extinction or had been depleted as a result of human activities.

With this legislation, the primary objective of marine mammal management was to maintain the health and stability of the marine ecosystem and, when consistent with that primary objective, obtain and maintain optimum sustainable populations of marine mammals. This legislation established a general moratorium on the taking and importing of many marine mammals. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the implementation of this legislation. Also established by this legislation: the Marine Mammal Commission to provide oversight and make recommendations to further the purposes and policies of the Act.

You can find more about the other provisions of this legislation on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration page.

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