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. Cetacean Conservation in the U.S. David Cottingham Division Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Office of Protected Resources NOAA Fisheries.

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Presentation on theme: ". Cetacean Conservation in the U.S. David Cottingham Division Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Office of Protected Resources NOAA Fisheries."— Presentation transcript:

1 . Cetacean Conservation in the U.S. David Cottingham Division Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Office of Protected Resources NOAA Fisheries Service May 16, 2007

2 Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) Enacted in 1972 Prohibits take of marine mammals, with limited exceptions - Take means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. Protects all marine mammals, regardless of population status - Optimum sustainable population

3 Exceptions to MMPA Take Prohibition Incidental Take –Commercial fishing –Other specified activities (e.g., oil and gas exploration) Direct Take –Subsistence hunting/handicrafts by Alaska natives –Scientific research, public display, and photography –Non-lethal deterrence –Government officials (Federal, state, local) –Pinniped Removal Authority

4 Endangered Species Act (ESA) Enacted in 1973 Prohibits take of endangered and threatened species, with mechanisms to provide exceptions –Take means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct To provide : –a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered species –a means whereby the ecosystems upon which such species depend may be conserved

5 Endangered and Depleted Cetaceans in the U.S. ESA Endangered cetacean species (8): Blue whale, Bowhead whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Killer whale*, Northern right whale, Sperm whale, Sei whale (*indicates that only certain populations of the species are listed as endangered) MMPA Depleted cetacean stocks (13, with ESA species): Spotted dolphin (NE offshore), Spinner dolphin (Eastern), Killer whale (AT1 transient), Bottlenose dolphin (WNA coastal), Beluga whale (Cook Inlet)

6 Threats to Marine Mammals Fishery interactions (e.g. entanglements) Ship strikes Marine debris Noise Disease and contamination Disturbance of natural behaviors

7 U.S. Management Measures: National Initiatives Annual Stock Assessment Reports (all marine mammals) –Population estimates and trends –Estimate of human caused mortality –Used to evaluate progress in reducing bycatch of marine mammals Recovery Plans (endangered or threatened species) National Bycatch Report (first edition: 2008) –Comprehensive quantification of bycatch estimates in U.S. fisheries –Provide a basis for setting bycatch management goals –Bycatch estimates for fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and sea birds Research –Understanding marine mammal-environmental parameter interactions

8 U.S. Management Measures: Fisheries Interactions Zero Mortality Rate Goal (ZMRG) –Reduce bycatch in commercial fisheries to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate Commercial fishery classifications (i.e., List of Fisheries) –Based on a Frequent (I), Occasional (II), or Remote (III) likeliness of serious injury and mortality of marine mammals Registration- Category I and II Observers- Category I and II Reporting- all Categories

9 Take Reduction Teams (TRT) and Plans (TRP) –Stakeholder-based teams develop regulatory and/or voluntary measures for bycatch reduction –TRTs meet periodically to monitor implementation of the plan Completed and future Take Reduction Plans (TRP) –Pacific Offshore Cetacean (TRP: 1997) –Gulf of Maine Harbor Porpoise (TRP: 1999) –Mid-Atlantic Harbor Porpoise (TRP: 1999) –Atlantic Large Whale (TRP: 1999) –Bottlenose Dolphin (TRP: 2006) –Pelagic Longline (TRT convened June 2005) –Atlantic Trawl Gear (TRT convened September 2006) U.S. Management Measures: Fisheries Interactions (cont.)

10 U.S. Management Measures: Ship Strike Reduction Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems Right whale alerts Ship speed advisories Recommended vessels routes IMO-approved reconfiguration of the Traffic Separation Scheme that services Boston Proposed speed regulations in right whale habitat Cruise ship speed limits in Glacier Bay National Park, AK

11 U.S. Management Measures: Marine Debris Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act –Mapping, source identification, and impact assessments –Reduction through removal –Research and development of alternatives to gear posing threats to the marine environment –Monitoring –Prevention through education and outreach –Emergency response Grant opportunities –National Fish and Wildlife Foundation – NOAA Partnership –NOAA Community-based Restoration Program

12 U.S. Management Measures: Acoustics Noise Exposure Criteria Works with partners to monitor and mitigate underwater sound –U.S. Navy sonar –Shipping industry Funds research on potential impacts Contributes to public education

13 U.S. Management Measures: Health and Stranding Response National Stranding Network Unusual Mortality Event response and investigation John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program Tissue and Serum Bank Program Disentanglement Program Biomonitoring Program

14 MARINE MAMMAL UMEs CURRENTLY UNDER INVESTIGATION 1. Bottlenose Dolphins 2. Manatees and Bottlenose Dolphins 3. Sea Otters 4. Humpback Whales 5. Seals 6. Harbor Porpoises 7. Manatees 8. Bottlenose Dolphins 9. Cetaceans 10. Manatees 1 4 &

15 U.S. Management Measures: Whale Watching Recommended viewing guidelines Regulations –Right whales in the North Atlantic –Humpback whales in Hawaii and Alaska –Considering regulations: spinner dolphin swim-with programs in Hawaii –Considering regulations: Southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest Voluntary operator certification programs Education and outreach

16 International Cooperation Research partnering with scientists worldwide Multiple bilateral agreements Multi-lateral Agreements –International Dolphin Conservation Program (IDCP) –International Whaling Commission (IWC) –Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) –Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) –South Pacific Environment Program (SPREP) –Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol (SPAW)

17 Thank You! Questions?

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