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Marine Mammal Protection Act Overview & Updates from the NMFS Northeast Region. Amanda Johnson NMFS NER Protected Resources Division E-mail: Phone: 978-281-9300 ext. 6513. Topics to Cover. Overview of MMPA Certain Sections highlighted

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Marine Mammal Protection Act Overview & Updates from the NMFS Northeast Region

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    1. Marine Mammal Protection Act Overview & Updates from the NMFS Northeast Region Amanda Johnson NMFS NER Protected Resources Division E-mail: Phone: 978-281-9300 ext. 6513

    2. Topics to Cover • Overview of MMPA • Certain Sections highlighted • MMPA Reauthorization: 2006 Proposed Amendments • NMFS NER Updates & Information • NMFS Protected Resources Division programs and staff NOAA

    3. Marine Mammal Protection Act • Congress passed the MMPA in 1972 based on the below reasons • Some marine mammal species or stocks may be in danger of extinction or depletion as a result of human activities (think tuna-dolphin issue in the Eastern Tropical Pacific) • These species or stocks must not be permitted to fall below their optimum sustainable population level (depleted) • Measures should be taken to replenish these species or stocks • There is inadequate knowledge of the ecology and population dynamics • Marine mammals have proven to be resources of great international significance

    4. What does the MMPA do? • Establishes a moratorium on the taking and importation of marine mammals unless the activity is permitted • “Take” – to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill • “Harassment” – any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which can injure a marine mammal or stock or has the potential to disrupt behavioral patterns, including but not limited to migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding or sheltering

    5. 1994 Amendments • Certain exceptions to the take prohibitions, such as for Alaska Native subsistence (Section 119) and permits and authorizations for scientific research (Section 104) • A program to authorize and control the taking of marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing operations (Section 118) • Preparation of stock assessments for all marine mammal stocks in waters under U.S. jurisdiction (Section 117) • Studies of pinniped-fishery interactions (Section 120)

    6. MMPA Species and Jurisdictions • Species under jurisdiction of NMFS • Whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans) • Seals and sea lions (pinnipeds) • Species under jurisdiction of US FWS • Walruses • Manatees & dugongs • Polar bears • Sea otters • Captive care and maintenance of marine mammals held for public display falls under jurisdiction of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the Animal Welfare Act

    7. MMPA Layout • Title I – Conservation and Protection of Marine Mammals • Title II – Marine Mammal Commission • Title III – Global Moratorium to Prohibit Certain Tuna Harvesting Practices • Title IV – Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response (covered in a later presentation)

    8. Title I • Contains Sections 101 through 120 • Focusing on: • Section 104 – Permits • Section 117 – Stock assessments • Section 118 – Taking of marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing operations

    9. Section 104 – Permits • Secretary may issue permits that authorize the taking or importation of any marine mammal for the following activities: • Scientific research • Enhancing survival or recovery • Commercial and educational photography • First-time import for public display • Capture for public display • Incidental take during non-commercial fishing operations • Incidental take during commercial fishing activities (MMAP) • Applications differ for ESA-listed marine mammals and non-listed marine mammals • See NMFS Office of Protected Resources web site:

    10. Section 117 - Stock Assessments • Annually publish a stock assessment report • Describes geographic range of the stock • Provides minimum population estimate, productivity rates, population trends • Estimates annual human-caused mortality and serious injury • Describes commercial fisheries the stocks interacts with • Categorizes stock as being strategic or not strategic (strategic if annual human-caused mortality and serious injury is likely to reduce stock below optimum sustainable population) • Estimates the potential biological removal (PBR) for the stock • PBR in simple terms – number of animals that can be removed from a population without negatively affecting that population

    11. Section 118 – Commercial Fishery Interactions • Establishes a zero mortality rate goal (ZMRG) • Reducing takes to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate • ZMRG defined in a final rule as 10% of PBR (69 FR 43338; July 20, 2004) • Establishment of List of Fisheries (LOF) • Published annually to categorize fisheries with frequent (Category I), occasional (Category II), or remote likelihood (Category III) of serious injury and mortality of marine mammals

    12. Section 118 (continued) • Marine Mammal Authorization Program (MMAP) • Required to have MMAP certificate if fishing in a Category I or II fishery • NER fishermen automatically registered and must comply with all TRP and emergency regulations • Annually issued • We ask states to query their state databases • Monitoring of Incidental Takes • Observers • Reporting requirements under the MMAP – use Mortality and Serious Injury Reporting Form • Emergency Regulations • Take Reduction Plans

    13. Take Reduction Plans • Purpose • To aid in the recovery or prevent the depletion of strategic marine mammal stocks that interact with commercial fisheries • Short-term goal: reduce takes to below PBR • Long-term goal: reduce takes to ZMRG • Take Reduction Teams • Scientists, environmentalists, State and Federal managers, fishing industry, academia

    14. Take Reduction Plans • NMFS Northeast Region has the lead on: • Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan • Northeast sink gillnet and Mid-Atlantic gillnet • Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan • NE and Mid-Atlantic lobster trap/pot and gillnet gear (NE sink, Mid-Atlantic, SE Atlantic, & SEUS Atlantic shark) • Atlantic Trawl Gear Take Reduction Plan • Mid-Atlantic mid-water trawl, NE and Mid-Atlantic bottom trawl, & NE mid-water trawl • NMFS Southeast Region has the lead on: • Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan • Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Plan

    15. MMPA Reauthorization • House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 4075) on July 17, 2006 to reauthorize the MMPA • Increase in fines for MMPA violations • Add recreational fisheries with frequent and occasional incidental mortality and serious injury under the TRP process • Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on August 4, 2006

    16. Updates from the NMFS NERMarine Mammal Program • Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan Outreach and Education Meetings • Visit the HPTRP web site: • Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan is in rule-making process to amend the Plan • Annual ALWTRT meeting will be December 6-8, 2006 in Virginia Beach • For more information, visit: • NMFS Mid-Atlantic Gear Buyback and Recycling Program (NJ, DE, MD, VA, and NC) • Floating groundline collection at 4 buyback sites conducted in January 2006 – Point Pleasant and Sea Isle City, NJ; Ocean City, MD; and Norfolk, VA • Collected 100,000 lbs. of floating line & spent $200,000 on vouchers

    17. Hot Topics & Updates (continued) • Atlantic Trawl Gear TRT • Met for the first time in September 2006 • Web site: • Ship Strikes • Proposed rule and DEIS on proposed strategy to reduce ship strikes • Proposed rule comment period closed October 5, 2006 • Rule and DEIS online: • Right Whale Grants Program FY06 • Highly competitive this year • Upcoming year uncertainties

    18. Right Whale Funding Opportunities • Right Whale Research Program • Priority for projects that have likelihood of reducing death/serious injury due to entanglement • Accepted proposals for projects that address some right whale biological needs in support of the ALWTRP • Atlantic Coast States Cooperative Planning for Right Whale Recovery Program • Funding for projects that have a strong likelihood of reducing death or serious injury through the development or implementation of recovery plan tasks • Should reference a federal or state right whale recovery plan • Coordination and/or collaboration across state boundaries, with federal agencies, industry, and other interested parties is encouraged.

    19. RW Funding Opportunities (continued) • Very competitive this year • We received 42 pre-proposals requesting ~$6 million in funding • We had about $700,000 to spend with funds combined between the 2 programs • 14 applicants were invited to submit full proposals • Of those, 7 were recommended for funding • Next year – unsure about funds being allocated to the program since we don’t have a budget yet

    20. RW Funding Opportunities (continued) • Check the web site for updates, program priorities, previously funded projects, and State reports:

    21. Atlantic Coast States: Projects Funded in 2005 • Four projects funded in 2005 ($505,000): • Maine Large Whale Cooperative Management Plan - maintain and expand existing programs, including right whale foraging surveys. • Massachusetts Right Whale Conservation Plan – continue gear research, monitoring, and outreach efforts to reduce large whale entanglement. • Rhode Island Large Whale Conservation Plan – conduct assessment of fixed gear types (trap/pot and gillnet) that may adversely affect large whales as well as conduct outreach activities to regulated commercial fixed gear fishermen. • Florida Right Whale Disentanglement Response Enhancement – improve right whale entanglement response in the Southeast U.S. through training of responders and acquiring field equipment.

    22. Proactive Species Conservation Grant Program (ESA side) • Supports conservation efforts for marine and anadromous species before listing on the ESA becomes necessary • Program provides NMFS support to States to develop and implement conservation plans for Species of Concern (SOC) • Grants program web site (NMFS HQ): • Check out last year’s information • Fiscal Year 2007 funds should be announced in December

    23. NER Species of Concern • Atlantic sturgeon • Barndoor skate • Cusk • Dusky shark • Sand tiger shark • Rainbow smelt • Thorny skate • Atlantic wolffish • Atlantic halibut • Atlantic white marlin • Atlantic salmon (other populations outside the range of the Gulf of Maine DPS) Cusk

    24. Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Diane Borggaard (Coordinator) Glenn Salvador, John Higgins (gear research), and John Kenney (gear engineer) Atlantic Trawl Gear Take Reduction Plan Mark Minton (Coordinator) Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan Amanda Johnson or Dave Gouveia Large Whale Disentanglement Jamison Smith (Coordinator) Ship Strikes Kristen Koyama (Coordinator) Right Whale Research Amanda Johnson (Coordinator) Marine Mammal Stranding Program Mendy Garron (Coordinator) Enforcement Liaison Gregg LaMontagne NER Marine Mammal ProgramMarine Mammal Coordinator: Dave Gouveia

    25. NER Endangered Species ProgramEndangered Species Coordinator: Pat Scida • Sea Turtles • Carrie Upite • Ellen Keane • Sea Turtle Strandings and Disentanglement • Sara McNulty (Coordinator) • Section 7 Consultations • Lynn Lankshear, Peter Kelliher, Julie Crocker, Wesley Patrick • Shortnose Sturgeon • Dana Hartley (Coordinator) • Proactive Species Conservation • Kim Damon-Randall (Coordinator) • Salmon • David Bean, Jessica Pruden, Maine field office staff

    26. NY’s Roles • Attend TRT meetings • Will become more familiar with issues surrounding the Take Reduction Plans • Can apply for funding for projects that support TRPs and/or NY’s conservation programs that relate to TRPs • Enforcement • Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) • NY received $260,000 • May use fishery characterization information to help determine compliance with ALWTRP and HPTRP • Develop state conservation plan and continue to apply for funding through various programs • Continue stranding program efforts

    27. Questions? North Atlantic right whale Harbor porpoise Ari Friedlaender Dave Wiley Atlantic white-sided dolphins NMFS Buyback – Ocean City, MD