Marine Mammals Essay

1420 words - 6 pages

Marine Mammal Conservation

Sharon Herzog

COM/172-Elements of University Composition and Communications II

July 28, 2013
Timothy Toole

Marine Mammal Conservation

There are 29 marine mammals on the endangered and threatened list produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The US Fisheries and Wildlife foundation also have a list that includes certain seals, sea otters, and polar bears. There are many threats to marine mammals. These threats include dangers posed by humans and the environment. There are laws in place to help protect marine mammals from further dangers. Captivity has brought forth much controversy as to dangers it may pose to ...view middle of the document...

Their list includes threatened and endangered species in the US and foreign species as well (The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2013). The US Fisheries and Wildlife Administration also lists Polar Bears, Manatees, Sea Otters, and some species of Whales on their list (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013).
In 1972 Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Marine Mammal Protection Act is based on the following according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2013), “Some marine mammal species or stocks may be in danger of extinction or depletion as a result of human activities; These species or stocks must not be permitted to fall below their optimal sustainable population level; Measures should be taken to replenish these species or stocks; Marine mammals have proven to be resources of great international significance” (para 1). This was amended in 1994. The following was added according to The NOAA, “Certain exceptions to the take prohibitions, including for small take incidental to specified activities, when access by Alaska Natives to marine mammal subsistence resources can be preserved, and programs and authorization for scientific research; A program to authorize the taking of marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing operations; Preparation of stock assessments for all marine mammal stocks in waters under US jurisdiction; and studies of Pinniped-fishery interactions” (para. 2). There are also international laws in effect to protect marine mammals as well. Unfortunately, there are still many threatened and endangered marine mammals today.
There are many threats to marine mammal life. Humans pose a huge threat to these mammals. Fishing nets pose a major threat to marine mammals. Marine mammals who get caught in the nets are often unable to surface for the air they require in order to breath. Fishing nets such as, gill nets, trawling, and drift nets often catch marine mammals and cause them to be towed behind the boat. On occasion, the nets break loose but the marine mammal is still tangled in the net. This causes the mammal to be unable to hunt for food and eat, ultimately killing it by means of starvation (Kidcyber, 2007). Another threat that marine mammals encounter is competition for food. They often find themselves competing with fisheries for the food they eat. Pollution also poses a threat to marine mammal life. Things such as oil spills, poison leaks, dumping in the ocean, and noise all threaten the life of these mammals. Habitat loss is the biggest threat to marine mammal life. Marine ecosystems are experiencing a critically high rate of habitat loss and degradation causing severe losses to marine mammal life (Marbef, 2010). Some of the contributing factors to habitat loss include, land reclamation, sand and gravel extraction, and property development, such as, harbors, ports, and buildings. Habitat loss leads to endangerment and extinction of marine mammals. ...

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