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Marine Mammals

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

what marine mammals eat- video screenshot
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

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)

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


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

There are approximately 119 marine mammal species worldwide managed under the MMPA in our jurisdiction and eight under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's jurisdiction.

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

The following list of marine mammals includes those under our jurisdiction, which includes marine mammal species found in U.S. waters, as well as endangered/ threatened species worldwide.
(The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages walrus, polar bear, otter, manatee, and dugong.)




Sea Lions


Marine Mammal Conservation

We work in collaboration with our 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 Information

Updated: March 6, 2017