[MARMAM] Dolphin deadline' left out of Young's MMPA bill

Bell, Joel T CIV NAVFAC Lant joel.t.bell at navy.mil
Tue Feb 20 08:28:44 PST 2007


Doesn't 1,900 marine mammals a year seem like a significant
underestimate of bycatch?  Andy Read and co-authors estimated 6215 +/-
448 annually in the US from 1990-1999.



Environment & Energy Daily

February 16, 2007

OCEANS: 'Dolphin deadline' left out of Young's MMPA bill

Allison Winter

House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Don Young (R-Alaska)
took the cover off a bill yesterday that would reauthorize the Marine
Mammal Protection Act minus a "dolphin deadline" provision that
environmentalists claim is vital to protecting marine life.
Young's bill, H.R. 1007, would remove a federal restriction in the
current bill meant to reduce commercial fishers' accidental catch.

"The Marine Mammal Protection Act has been very successful in protecting
and recovering marine mammals. However, it has been very onerous on
commercial fishermen," Young said in a statement, adding that his
legislation would "bring balance" to the act.

The underlying act prohibits the killing of whales, dolphins and other
marine mammals and has been a vital tool for environmentalists' legal
efforts to protect whales from sonar and marine mammals from fishing
interactions.

The "dolphin deadline" requires fisheries managers to reduce the bycatch
of marine mammals to 
"insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious injury
rate."

Environmentalists say it vital to protect dolphins and whales from
commercial fishing operations, which accidentally kill approximately
1,900 marine mammals a year, according to Oceana's assessment of
government numbers

Young said his proposal would continue many protections for the species.
It would still require commercial fishers to report all accidental kills
of marine mammals and require federal officials to develop plans to
reduce mortality and injury in fisheries.

Efforts by House Republicans last year to move MMPA reauthorization
without the dolphin deadline fell flat. Oceana and other environmental
groups launched a campaign against the proposal, and the House Resources
Committee restored the dolphin deadline before bringing the bill to the
floor.
That measure
<http://www.eenews.net/features/bills/109/House/170706153250.pdf>
unanimously passed the House under suspension of the rules, but the
Senate never took it up.

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