Marine Mammals Management
Alaska Region


Incidental Take Regulations


What are Incidental Take Regulations?

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA), as amended, prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals in U.S. waters. Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), to authorize the incidental, but not intentional taking of small numbers of certain marine mammals species (including polar bears, walruses, and sea otters) associated with specified activities, provided that, the total of such taking will have no more than a negligible impact on these marine mammal species and does not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species for subsistence uses. The Service may issue ITRs for a period of up to five years.

What are Letters of Authorization?

If ITRs are promulgated for a specified activity in a specified geographical region U.S. citizens can request a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the Service to carry out these activities under an exemption of the MMPA. LOAs are issued on a project specific basis and include operating restrictions and other mitigation measures designed to minimize interactions with, and impacts to marine mammals. LOAs also specify monitoring and reporting requirements to evaluate the level and impact of any resulting takes. Depending upon the nature, location and timing of the proposed activity, applicants may be required to consult with potentially effected subsistence communities, and develop additional mitigation measures to address potential impacts to subsistence users. More information on applying for and receiving an LOA can be found at 50 CFR 18.27(f).

To request an LOA please contact the Service:

1011 East Tudor Road, MS 341 Phone: 907-786-3800
Anchorage, Alaska 99503 or 800-362-5148 Fax: 907-786-3816

Incidental Take Regulations and Letters of Authorization available for Public Review

Oil and Gas Exploration in the Chukchi Sea

Oil and Gas Operations in the Beaufort Sea

Last updated: July 27, 2015