Skip to Page Content
banner top art gif
office title gif
NOAA Fisheries
Office of Protected Resources
Acropora palmata thicket on Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Andy Bruckner, 1996Coho salmon painting, Canadian Dept of Fisheries and OceansMonk seal, C.E. BowlbyHumpback whale, Dr. Lou Herman
banner art gif
Species
Marine Mammals
Cetaceans
Pinnipeds
Marine Turtles
Marine & Anadromous Fish
Marine Invertebrates & Plants
Species of Concern
Threatened & Endangered Species
Critical Habitat Maps
  Contact OPR
Glossary
OPR Site Map

inner curve gif

Marine Mammals

Species | Status | Conservation | More Info | Reports & Publications

  what marine mammals eat- video screenshot
Video
What do marine mammals eat?

Credit: Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Ocean Media Center



After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Dr. Brian Stacy, a NOAA veterinarian, cleans a young Kemp's ridley turtle aboard vessel before the captured turtles were taken to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans for rehabilitation. (photo courtesy NOAA, Florida FWCC)
Dr. Brian Stacy, NOAA veterinarian, cleans a young Kemp's ridley turtle
Photo: NOAA/FWCC

· Sea Turtles, Dolphins, and Whales and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

· Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)

 

Killer Whales
Killer whales
(Orcinus orca)
Photo: NOAA


Hawaiian Monk Seal
Hawaiian monk seal
(Monachus schauinslandi)
Photo: NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center


North Atlantic right whales
North Atlantic Right whales
(Eubalaena glacialis)
Photo: NOAA


bowhead whale
Bowhead whale
(Balaena mysticetus)
Photo: NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center


Breaching Humpback Whale
Humpback whale
Megaptera novaeangliae
Photo: Janice Waite, National Marine Mammal Laboratory


Northern fur seal
Northern fur seal
(Callorhinus ursinus)
Photo: NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory


Bottlenose Dolphin jumping out of water
Bottlenose dolphin
(Tursiops truncatus)
Photo: NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center


beluga whale
Beluga whale
(Delphinapterus leucas)
Photo: NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory


Overview
Marine mammals are mammals that are well adapted for life in the marine environment. Two major groups of marine mammals are:

  1. Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises)
  2. Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses)

There are approximately 125 marine mammal species worldwide managed under the MMPA. Of those 125, 8 species are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (walrus, polar bear, sea otter, marine otter, West African manatee, Amazonian manatee, West Indian manatee, and dugong).

Status of Marine Mammals
All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA); some marine mammals may be designated as "depleted" under the MMPA. Stocks of marine mammals may also be considered "strategic" under the MMPA; stragetic/ non-strategic stocks [pdf] can be found in the summary tables of the Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports. Endangered and threatened marine mammals are further protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The table below includes marine mammals found in U.S. waters and endangered/threatened foreign species. Note: Species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA are, by default, also considered "depleted" under the MMPA.

(E = "endangered"; T = "threatened"; P = "proposed"; C = "candidate"; S = "species of concern"; D = "depleted"; DL = "delisted"; F = "foreign")

Species Status
 
 
 
  • Okhotsk
T (F)
  • Cook Inlet
E
 
E
  • Fiordland
C
  • Western North Atlantic coastal
D
E
 
 
DL
E (F)
 
 
 
 
  • Main Hawaiian Islands Insular
E
E
 
 
 
  • Western North Pacific
E (F)
  • Eastern North Pacific
DL
T (F)
E (F)
 
  • Baltic Sea
C
 
  • Iliamna Lake
C
 
E
C
 
E
  • Eastern Taiwan Strait
C
E (F)
  • Southern Resident
E
  • AT1 transient
D
 
 
 
E (F)
 
 
 
E
E
 
 
  • Pribilof Island/Eastern Pacific
D
 
 


D
 
 
S
  • Arctic
    (Phoca hispida hispida)
  • Okhotsk
    (Phoca hispida ochotensis)
  • Baltic
    (Phoca hispida botnica)
  • Ladoga
    (Phoca hispida ladogensis)
T

T (F)

T (F)

E (F)
 
 
E (F)
 
 
E
E (F)
 
E
  • Eastern
D
 
  • Southern
T (F)
 
  • Western U.S.

    original listing -
E

T
  • Eastern U.S.
DL
 
 
 

Marine Mammal Conservation
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources works in collaboration with NMFS' Regional Offices, Science Centers, and partners to develop and implement a variety of programs for the protection, conservation, and recovery of the approximately 160 marine mammal stocks listed under the MMPA, including:

More Info

Note: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service implements programs and regulations for manatees, polar bears, sea otters, and walruses.

Updated: December 11, 2014

NOAA logo Department of Commerce logo