Library Index » Science Encyclopedia » Aquatic Species and Their Environments - Water Pollution—many, Many Causes, Dams, Water Diversion—the Aral Sea, Overfishing—too Many Boats, Not Enough Fish

Aquatic Species and Their Environments - Laws Protecting Aquatic Species

marine act service fisheries

The Lacey Act

The Lacey Act was originally passed in 1900 and is the oldest wildlife conservation law in the United States. The Lacey Act prohibits interstate and international trade in wildlife that has been collected or exported illegally. In 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service processed 1,476 cases under the Lacey Act. These included illegal commerce in endangered species, illegal hunting, and illegal harvest of shellfish from closed areas.

The Magnuson Act

The Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 established a system for fisheries management within U.S. waters. Examples of Magnuson Act violations include fishing without a permit, possessing out-of-season fish, or retaining undersized fish.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), passed in 1972, recognized that many marine mammals are either endangered or have suffered declines as a result of human activity. The MMPA prohibits the taking (hunting, killing, capturing, and harassing) of marine mammals. The act also bars importation of most marine mammals or their products. Exceptions are occasionally granted for scientific research, public display in aquariums, subsistence hunting (by Alaskan natives), and some incidental take during commercial fishing operations. The goal of the MMPA is to maintain marine populations at or above "optimum sustainable" levels. Under the MMPA, the National Marine Fisheries Service manages all cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) except walruses. The National Marine Fisheries Service relies on the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal and state agencies to assist with the detection of violations. Table 5.6 shows the list of marine mammal injuries and mortalities that resulted from interactions with commercial fisheries in 2000. This is a standard part of the Administration of the Marine Mam-mal Protection Act of 1972 report that the National Marine Fisheries Service submits to Congress every two years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages polar bears, walruses, sea otters, manatees, and dugongs (manatee relatives).

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