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Crimes Against Marine Mammals Exhibit Opens at D.C.'s Crime Museum

More Resources 

Crime Museum Exhibit Page
Exhibit at a Glance
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement
NOAA Office of Protected Resources
Reporting Animals in Danger 

An endangered North Atlantic right whale suffers a broken tail from a ship strike. Learn more about ship strike reduction here.

Entangled humpback whale.

Help Marine Mammals 

Witness a marine life cruelty or illegal activities? Call the 24-hour NOAA Enforcement Hotline 1-800-853-1964.

If you spot a stranded animal, the law requires you to keep your distance and encourages you to call the Stranding Hotline at 1-800-628-9944 to report the animal to the Maryland Natural Resource Police.

Outside of Maryland? Here's how you can report a stranded animal. 


May 22, 2012

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act through an eye-opening exhibit that showcases different violations of the Act, how law enforcement agents investigate those violations, and how you can help protect marine mammals. Created by NOAA Fisheries and the Crime Museum in D.C., the exhibit opens today at the museum and runs through September 3, 2012. 

The Marine Mammal Protection Act  was passed in 1972 and prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals in U.S. waters or by U.S. citizens on the high seas, and the importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S.

Entangled right whale from above.

How Do We Protect Marine Mammals? 

We protect global marine resources by enforcing U.S. laws and international treaties and obligations dedicated to protecting wildlife and their natural habitat. A range of actions include: 

  • Patrols, inspections, and monitoring criminal and civil investigations
  • Cooperative fisheries enforcement
  • Outreach and compliance assistance
  • Use of innovative technology

    Commercial fishermen arrested for illegal possession of explosives and unlawful taking of marine mammals. Homemade bombs were thrown at dolphins while fishing.

Marine mammals are resources of great is congressional policy that they should be protected...the primary objective of this management must be to maintain the health and sustainability of the marine ecosystem..."      

—House Report No. 92-707, Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972

Working Together for Protection

  • Joint enforcement agreements with 27 coastal states and territories
  • Partnerships with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other federal agencies, non-governmental organizations
    and tribes.
  • Prosecution of civil cases by NOAA’s Office of General Counsel and
    criminal cases by Department of Justice.