Marine Mammals Management
Alaska Region


Marking, Tagging & Reporting Program

Summary of the MTRP Rule

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has amended 50 CFR Part 18, to establish marking, tagging and reporting regulations as authorized under Section 109(i) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act(act) of 1972 as amended. This action implements a 1981 amendment to the Act and will assist the Service in: 1) monitoring the subsistence and handicraft harvest of polar bears, sea otters and walrus; 2)obtaining essential biological data needed to manage these species or stocks; and 3)helping to control the illegal take, trade, and transport of specified raw marine mammal parts.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 1988. After an implementation period of 120 days, the new rule became mandatory, and on October 28, 1988, the Marking, Tagging and Reporting Program became effective. During this period, local Natives (as often as possible) were hired and trained, and the necessary kits and supplies were purchased and distributed to the local tagging employees. Tagging kits are provided by the Service and training is conducted by the coordinator of the program or his representative. The taggers affix a dated, numbered, color-coded, locking plastic tag to the hide and skulls of polar bears and sea otters presented for tagging. Walrus ivory is removed from the nose plate, and a plastic headed wire tag is attached through a small hole drilled in the root area of the tusk.

The reporting forms provided with the tagging kit are used to record information regarding species, tag number, measurements, sex, approximate age, and location and date of kill or find. In the case of walrus, the type of take is also recorded. Each polar bear and sea otter has a tooth removed to be examined for age.

Failure to comply with the rule by the Native hunter or possessor of the specified parts, registered agents, and tanneries could result in seizure of the parts and/or penalties of up to $10,000 for each infraction. Information obtained from the program is published for public review in the Service's Region 7 Annual Report.

Last updated: November 3, 2011