The Marine Mammal Protection Act turns 37!

On this day in 1972, for the first time ever, our government made the conservation of healthy and stable ecosystems as important as the conservation of individual species.  A passionate group of scientists and citizens approached Congress with concerns about the decline in some species of marine mammals, fearing that human impact was part of the reason.  Congress listened and enacted the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) on October 21, 1972.  All marine mammals are protected under the MMPA.   The Act established a national policy to prevent marine mammal species and population stocks from declining beyond the point where they ceased to be significant functioning elements of their ecosystem.

A raft of sea otters.  Sea otters help to maintain a balanced eco-system.

A raft of sea otters. Sea otters help to maintain a balanced eco-system.

Today marks the 37th Anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  We can all be grateful for this in some way or another.  If you have ever appreciated whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, walrus, manatee, polar bears or sea otters you’ve been affected by the Act.

We hope that our government continues to uphold the spirit of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  As times change, so should legislation.  Using the most current science, we must continue to strengthen these measures to ensure our marine ecosystem remains sustainable not only for sea otters, but for all marine creatures- including us!

Happy Birthday Marine Mammal Protection Act- and thanks!!

The MMPA text- revised 2007

NOAA’s MMPA Fact sheet

Marine Mammal Commission

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