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R. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Public Law 92-522, 86 Stat. 1027,

October 21, 1972 (16 USC 1361-1407), as amended by: Public Laws 93-205, 87 Stat. 884, December 28, 1973; 94-265, 90 Stat. 331, April 13, 1976; 95-136, 91 Stat. 1167, October 18, 1977; and 95-316, 92 Stat. 380, July 10, 1978.

An Act

To protect marine mammals; to establish a Marine Mammal Commission; and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Marine Congress assembled, That this Act, with the following table of contents, may be cited as the Mammal "Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972".

Protection Act

of 1972. TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sec. 2. Findings and declaration of policy.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
Sec. 4. Effective date.

Title I-Conservation and Protection of Marine Mammals

Sec. 101. Moratorium and exceptions.
Sec. 102. Prohibitions.
Sec. 103. Regulations on taking of marine mammals.
Sec. 104. Permits.
Sec. 105. Penalties.
Sec. 106. Vessel fine, cargo forfeiture, and rewards.
Sec. 107. Enforcement.
Sec. 108. International program.
Sec. 109. Federal cooperation with States.
Sec. 110. Marine mammal research grants.
Sec. 111. Commercial fisheries gear development.
Sec. 112. Regulations and administration.
Sec. 113. Application to other treaties and conventions; repeal.
Sec. 114. Authorization of appropriations.

Title II—Marine Mammal Commission

Sec. 201. Establishment of Commission.
Sec. 202. Duties of Commission.
Sec. 203. Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals.
Sec. 204. Commission reports.
Sec. 205. Coordination with other Federal agencies.
Sec. 206. Administration of Commission.
Sec. 207. Authorization of appropriations.

Findings and Declaration of Policy

Sec. 2. The Congress finds that,

(1) certain species and population stocks of marine mammals are, or may be, in danger of extinction or depletion as a result of man's activities;

(2) such species and population stocks should not be permitted to diminish beyond the point at which they cease to be a significant functioning element in the ecosystem of which they are a part, and, consistent with this major objective, they should not be permitted to diminish below their optimum sustainable population. Further measures should be immediately taken to replenish any species or population stock which has already diminished below that population. In particular, efforts should be made to protect the rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance for each species of marine mammal from the adverse effect of man's actions;

(3) there is inadequate knowledge of the ecology and population dynamics of such marine mammals and of the factors which bear upon their ability to reproduce themselves successfully;

(4) negotiations should be undertaken immediately to encourage the development of international arrangements for research on, and conservation of, all

marine mammals;

(5) marine mammals and marine mammal products either

(A) move in interstate commerce, or

(B) affect the balance of marine ecosystems in a manner which is important to other animals and animal products which move in interstate commerce, and that the protection and conservation of marine mammals is therefore necessary to insure the continuing availability of those products which move in interstate commerce; and

(6) marine mammals have proven themselves to be resources of great international significance, esthetic and recreational as well as economic, and it is the sense of the Congress that they should be protected and encouraged to develop to the greatest extent feasible commensurate with sound policies of resource management and that the primary objective of their management should be to maintain the health and stability of the marine ecosystem. Whenever consistent with this primary objective, it should be the goal to obtain an optimum sustainable population keeping in mind the optimum carrying capacity of the habitat.

Definitions

80 Stat. 926; 83 Stat. 283. 16 USC 668aa note.

Sec. 3. For the purposes of this Act

(1) The term "depletion" or "depleted” means any case in which the Secretary, after consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals established under title II of this Act, determines that the number of individuals within a species or population stock

(A) has declined to a significant degree over a period of years;

(B) has otherwise declined and that if such decline continues, or is likely to resume, such species would be subject to the provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973; or

(C) is below the optimum carrying capacity for the species or stock within its environment.

(2) The terms "conservation” and “management” mean the collection and application of biological information for the purposes of increasing and maintaining the number of animals within species and populations of marine mammals at the optimum carrying capacity of their habitat. Such terms include the entire scope of activities that constitute a modern scientific resource program, including, but not limited to, research, census, law enforcement, and habitat acquisition and improvement. Also included within these terms, when and where appropriate, is the periodic or total protection of species or populations as well as regulated taking.

(3) The term "district court of the United States" includes the District Court of Guam, District Court of the Virgin Islands, District Court of Puerto Rico, District Court of the Canal Zone, and, in the case of American Samoa and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the District Court of the United States for the District of Hawaii.

(4) The term "humane” in the context of the taking of a marine mammal means that method of taking which involves the least possible degree of pain and suffering practicable to the mammal involved. (5) The term "marine mammal” means any mammal which

(A) is morphologically adapted to the marine environment (including sea otters and members of the orders Sirenia, Pinnipedia and Cetacea), or

(B) primarily inhabits the marine environment (such as the polar bear); and, for the purposes of this Act, includes any part of any such marine mammal, including its raw, dressed, or dyed fur or skin.

(6) The term "marine mammal product" means any item of merchandise which consists, or is composed in whole or in part, of any marine mammal.

(7) The term "moratorium” means a complete cessation of the taking of marine mammals and a complete ban on the importation into the United States of marine mammals and marine mammal products, except as provided in this Act.

(8) The term "optimum carrying capacity” means the ability of a given habitat to support the optimum sustainable population of a species or population stock in a healthy state without diminishing the ability of the habitat to continue that function.

(9) The term "optimum sustainable population" means, with respect to any population stock, the number of animals which will result in the maximum productivity of the population or the species, keeping in mind the optimum carrying capacity of the habitat and the health of the ecosystem of which they form a constituent element. (10) The term “person” includes

(A) any private person or entity, and

(B) any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, of any State or political subdivision thereof, or of any foreign government. (11) The term “population stock" or "stock” means a group of marine mammals of the

same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when
mature.
(12) The term "Secretary"means-

(A) the Secretary of the department in which the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration is operating, as to all responsibility, authority, funding,
and duties under this Act with respect to members of the order Cetacea and members,
other than walruses, of the order Pinnipedia, and

(B) the Secretary of the Interior as to all responsibility, authority, funding, and duties under this Act with respect to all other marine mammals covered by this Act.

(13) The term "take" means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.

(14) The term "United States” includes the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, the possessions of the United States, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. (15) The term "waters under the jurisdiction of the United States” means

(A) the territorial sea of the United States, and

(B) the waters included within a zone, contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States, of which the inner boundary is a line coterminous with the seaward boundary of each coastal State, and the outer boundary is a line drawn in such a manner that each point on it is 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured.

(As amended by P.L. 93-205, 87 Stat. 884, December 28, 1973; and P.L. 94-265, 90 Stat. 331, April 13, 1976)

Effective Date

Sec. 4. The provisions of this Act shall take effect upon the expiration of the sixty-day period following the date of its enactment.

TITLE I-CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF MARINE MAMMALS

Moratorium and Exceptions

Sec. 101.

(a) There shall be a moratorium on the taking and importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products, commencing on the effective date of this Act, during which time no permit may be issued for the taking of any marine mammal and no marine mammal or marine mammal product may be imported into the United States except in the following cases:

(1) Permits may be issued by the Secretary for taking and importation for purposes of scientific research and for public display if

(A) the taking proposed in the application for any such permit, or

(B) the importation proposed to be made, is first reviewed by the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals established under title II of this Act. The Commission and Committee shall recommend any proposed taking or importation which is consistent with the purposes and policies of section 2 of this Act. The Secretary shall, if he grants approval for importation, issue to the importer concerned a certificate to that effect which shall be in such form as the Secretary of the Treasury prescribes and such importation may be made upon presentation of the certificate to the customs officer concerned.

(2) During the twenty-four calendar months initially following the date of the enactment of this Act, the taking of marine mammals incidental to the course of commercial fishing operations shall be permitted, and shall not be subject to the provisions of sections 103 and 104 of this title: Provided, That such taking conforms to such conditions and regulations as the Secretary is authorized and directed to impose pursuant to section 111 hereof to insure that those techniques and equipment are used which will produce the least practicable hazard to marine mammals in such commercial fishing operations. Subsequent to such twenty-four months, marine mammals may be taken incidentally in the course of commercial fishing operations and permits may be issued thereof pursuant to section 104 of this title, subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary in accordance with section 103 hereof. In any event it shall be the immediate goal that the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of marine mammals permitted in the course of commercial fishing operations be reduced to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate. The Secretary shall request the Committee on Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals to prepare for public dissemination detailed estimates of the numbers of mammals killed or seriously injured

Commercial fishing operations.

Incidental killing or injury, restriction.

Waiver.

Regulations; permit requirement.

Endangered species.

Alaskan natives, exemptions.

under existing commercial fishing technology and under the technology which shall be required subsequent to such twenty-four-month period. The Secretary of the Treasury shall ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards. The Secretary shall insist on reasonable proof from the government of any nation from which fish or fish products will be exported to the United States of the effects on ocean mammals of the commercial fishing technology in use for such fish or fish products exported from such nation to the United States.

(3) (A) The Secretary, on the basis of the best scientific evidence available and in consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission, is authorized and directed, from time to time, having due regard to the distribution, abundance, breeding habits, and times and lines of migratory movements of such marine mammals, to determine when, to what extent, if at all, and by what means, it is compatible with this Act to waive the requirements of this section so as to allow taking, or importing of any marine mammal, or any marine mammal product, and to adopt suitable regulations, issue permits, and make determinations in accordance with sections 102, 103, 104, and 111 of this title permitting and governing such taking and importing, in accordance with such determinations: Provided, however, that the Secretary, in making such determinations, must be assured that the taking of such marine mammal is in accord with sound principles of resource protection and conservation as provided in the purposes and policies of this Act: Provided further, however, That no marine mammal or no marine mammal product may be imported into the United States unless the Secretary certifies that the program for taking marine mammals in the country of origin is consistent with the provisions and policies of this Act. Products of nations not so certified may not be imported into the United States for any purpose, including processing for exportation.

(B) Except for scientific research purposes as provided for in paragraph (1) of this subsection,

during the moratorium no permit may be issued for the taking of any marine mammal which is classified as belonging to an endangered species or threatened species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or has been designated by the Secretary

as depleted, and no importation may be made of any such mammal.
(b) The provisions of this Act shall not apply with respect to the taking of any marine
mammal by any Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo who dwells on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean or
the Arctic Ocean if such taking-

(1) is for subsistence purposes by Alaskan natives who reside in Alaska, or
(2) is done for purposes of creating and selling authentic

native articles of handicrafts and clothing: Provided, That only authentic native

articles of handicrafts and clothing may be sold in interstate commerce; And provided further, That any edible portion of marine mammals may be sold in native villages and towns in Alaska or for native consumption. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "authentic native articles of handicrafts and clothing" means items composed wholly or in some significant respect of natural materials, and which are produced, decorated, or fashioned in the exercise of traditional native handicrafts without the use of pantographs, multiple carvers, or other mass copying devices. Traditional native handicrafts include, but are not limited to weaving, carving, stitching, sewing, lacing, beading, drawing, and painting; and

(3) in each case, is not accomplished in a wasteful manner. Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this subsection, when, under this Act, the Secretary determines any species or stock of marine mammal subject to taking by Indians, Aleuts, or Eskimos to be depleted, he may prescribe regulations upon the taking of such marine mammals by any Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo described in this subsection. Such regulations may be established with reference to species or stocks, geographical description of the area included, the season for taking, or any other factors related to the reason for establishing such regulations and consistent with the purposes of this Act. Such regulations shall be prescribed after notice and hearing required by section 103 of this title and shall be removed as soon as the Secretary determines that the need for their imposition has disappeared.

(c) In order to minimize undue economic hardship to persons subject to this Act, other than those engaged in commercial fishing operations referred to in subsection (a)(2) of this section, the Secretary, upon any such person filing an application with him and upon filing such information as the Secretary may require showing, to his satisfaction, such hardship, may exempt such person or class of persons from provisions of this Act for no more than one year from the date of the enactment of this Act, as he determines to be appropriate.

"Authentic native articles of handicrafts and clothing."

Depleted species or stocks, regulations.

(As amended by P.L. 93-205, 87 Stat. 884, December 28, 1973)

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