One of the objectives of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) is to ensure species or stocks of marine mammals occurring in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States are neither permitted to diminish beyond the point at which they cease to be a significant functioning element of their ecosystem nor permitted to diminish below their scientific review groups, and include:. Section 117 of the MMPA provides for the development of stock assessment reports (SARs). SARs are based on the best scientific information available, prepared in consultation with established regional
A description of the geographic range of the affected stock, including any seasonal or temporal variation in such range
The minimum population estimate, current and maximum net productivity rates, and current population trend, including a description of the information upon which these are based
An estimate of the annual human-caused mortality and serious injury by source and, for a , other factors that may be causing a decline or impeding recovery of the stock, including effects on marine mammal habitat and prey
A description of commercial fisheries that interact with the stock, including:
The approximate number of vessels actively participating in each such fishery
The estimated level of incidental mortality and serious injury of the stock by each such fishery on an annual basis
Seasonal or area differences in such incidental mortality or serious injury
The rate, based on the appropriate standard unit of fishing effort, of such incidental mortality and serious injury, and an analysis stating whether such level is insignificant and is approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate
The status of the stock as one that either: (1) has a level of human-caused mortality and serious injury that is not likely to cause the stock to be reduced below its optimum sustainable population; or (2) is a strategic stock, with a description of the reasons therefor
An estimate of the for the stock, describing the information used to calculate it, including the recovery factor.
The Service reviews SARs annually for strategic stocks and triennially for non-strategic stocks. If the Service’s review indicates the status of the stock has changed or can be more accurately determined, the Service revises the SAR, which includes a 90-day public comment period.
For information on dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, and sea lions, contact the National Marine Fisheries Service's Office of Protected Resources.