Marine Mammal Take Reduction Program
Take reduction plans (Plans) help recover and prevent the depletion of strategic marine mammal stocks that interact with Category I and II fisheries. (Section 118 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) specifies that we develop and implement take reduction plans.)
A strategic stock is one which is:
- listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
- declining, and likely to be listed as threatened under the ESA
- listed as depleted under the MMPA
- experiencing direct human-caused mortality that exceeds the stock's "Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level"
The immediate goal of take reduction plans is to reduce, within six months of its implementation, the incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals from commercial fishing to less than the PBR level.
The long-term goal is to reduce, within five years of its implementation, the incidental mortality and serious injury mortality of marine mammals from commercial fishing operations to insignificant levels, approaching a zero serious injury and mortality rate, taking into account the economics of the fishery, the availability of existing technology, and existing state or regional fishery management plans.
- fishing industry
- fishery management councils
- state and Federal resource management agencies
- scientific community
- conservation organizations
Once we establish and convene a Team (and publish notice in the Federal Register), the Team has 6 months to reach consensus on a Plan and then submit it to NMFS. NMFS then has 60 days to publish a draft Plan, including any proposed changes to the plan. The public then has an opportunity to review and provide comments on both the Plan and the proposed regulations for implementing the Plan.
If a Team cannot reach consensus on a draft plan, the Team can document the range of possibilities considered and both majority and minority views. If a Team does not submit a draft Plan, NMFS has 8 months from the date the Team was formed to develop a proposed Plan and implementing regulations. NMFS may use the Team's deliberations as the basis for a Plan.
After the close of the comment period on a proposed Plan and implementing regulations, NMFS has 60 days to publish a final Plan and final regulations to implement that Plan.
After each Plan is finalized, the Team and NMFS meet periodically to monitor implementation of the plan.
- A review of the final stock assessment report for each marine mammal addressed by the Plan and any substantial new information
- An estimate of the total number and, if possible, age and gender, of animals from the stock that is incidentally killed or seriously injured each year during the course of commercial fishing operations, by fishery
- Recommended regulatory or voluntary measures for the reduction of incidental mortality and serious injury
- Recommended dates for achieving the specific objectives of the plan
NMFS Office of Protected Resources
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
- Policy for Distinguishing Serious From Non-Serious Injuries of Marine Mammals
- GAO Report on Take Reduction Planning: Improvements Are Needed in the Federal Process Used to Protect Marine Mammals from Commercial Fishing [pdf] (Dec 2008)
- Development of a Process for the Long-term Monitoring of MMPA Category I and II Commercial Fisheries [pdf] [7.2 MB]
- Take Reduction Team Negotiation Process Evaluation [pdf] [4.9 MB]
- Serious Injury Technical Workshop (2007)
Updated: May 1, 2014