Dear Member of Congress,
I am writing to ask you to oppose any legislation that would weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) provides protections for all marine mammals in U.S. waters, including whales, dolphins, seals, sea otters, and manatees. It recognizes the importance of marine mammals to the oceans and seeks to restore or maintain populations of these animals at healthy and productive levels. The law protects marine mammals by prohibiting activities that harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal, or attempt to do so. There are already exemptions granted by the law that permit limited harm to marine mammals from human activities.
Thanks to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a number of marine mammal species that were suffering heavy losses or even facing extinction have grown to healthier population levels. Hundreds of thousands of dolphins have been saved from large commercial fishing nets in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, harbor porpoise deaths in the Gulf of Maine have declined, and Northern elephant and gray seal populations have rebounded. It is essential that the law remain highly protective, because it can take several decades, or even a century, for a species to recover from low population levels. This is particularly the case for longer-lived species such as whales, which may not start reproducing until they are 10-20 years old and can live to be over a hundred years old.
The MMPA provides vital protections that marine mammals cannot afford to lose. Human uses of the ocean can continue with these protections in place, just as they do now. Thanks to the MMPA, whales, dolphins, seals and other marine mammals have a fighting chance for survival.
Therefore, I urge you to maintain the Marine Mammal Protection Act in its current from by opposing any bills or amendments that aim to undermine or weaken this essential ocean conservation law.