We provide leadership in the conservation and management of our nation's marine mammals under our jurisdiction – sea otters, Pacific walruses, polar bears, and West Indian manatees – as well as the marine ecosystems that support them.

What We Do

Our Services

Our work to conserve and manage marine mammal species includes: (1) managing the “take” (i.e., hunting, killing, capture, and/or harassment) of marine mammals through permits and authorizations, and (2) providing financial assistance to eligible marine mammal stranding participants to support all aspects of response to the stranding of certain marine mammals and for related scientific research.

Our Projects and Initiatives

We work with a range of partners to ensure optimum sustainable population optimum sustainable population
With respect to any marine mammal population stock, the number of animals which will result in the maximum productivity of the population or the species, keeping in mind the carrying capacity of the habitat and the health of the ecosystem of which they form a constituent element. [defined under…

Learn more about optimum sustainable population
levels for marine mammal stocks. To achieve this goal, we survey and assess population status and trends for marine mammals; maintain stock assessment reports for marine mammal stocks under our conservation and management jurisdiction; and facilitate the development and implementation of conservation plans. We also promulgate regulations and create cooperative relationships with industry to minimize potential impacts to marine mammal species

Our Laws and Regulations

All species of marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and some are also protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Polar bears are provided additional protection under the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, an agreement between the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Russia, which is implemented in the United States by the provisions of the MMPA.

Latest Stories and Topics

Our Library

Search our library for information pertaining to the Marine Mammal Protection Act and our work to conserve protected marine mammal species.

Our Species

We protect and conserve manatees, dugongs, walrus, sea otters, and polar bears under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Our sister agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, is responsible for all dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, and sea lions under the same act.