Federal Regulations

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972. The act created a national policy to prevent the decline of marine mammal populations, and to protect both these species and their habitats. The MMPA prohibits the ‘take’ of marine mammals, which is defined as: “to harass, hunt, capture or kill [or the attempt thereof]” in United States waters, by U.S. citizens, or by importation of marine mammals or marine mammal products. Harassment may further be defined as any activity which “has the potential to injure or disturb … by causing disruption of behavioral patterns.” The maximum fine for violating the MMPA is $100,000 and one year in jail.

MMPA fact sheet

MMPA fact sheet

Learn more about federal marine mammal protection: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/

Some useful NOAA links:

Responsible Marine Wildlife Viewing

MMPA Fact Sheet

Viewing guidelines for West Coast region


To report a dead, injured or stranded marine mammal, please call: 1-866-767-6114 
For law enforcement, harassments,  and other violations, please call:  1-800-853-1964
For entangled marine mammals, please call: 1-877-SOS-WHALe or 1-877-767-9425 or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Ch. 16
To report derelict gear, please call:  1-855-542-3935




Examples of other guidelines and regulations on the West Coast of the USA:

A gray whale and kayak fisherman near kelp beds

A gray whale and kayak fisherman near kelp beds


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