We just completed a report called Pointless Peril that looks at the impact on Marine Mammal populations from the federal government's failure to meet its deadline to reduce the death and injury of marine mammals caused by commercial fishing operations to insignificant levels. The government was required by law -- the Marine Mammal Protection Act -- to do this by April 30, 2001. This was exactly 5 years ago! What we found is that approximately 10,000 dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals could have been saved in the last five years if the federal government had fulfilled its responsibilities and met this deadline. This works out to five marine mammal deaths on average each day in U.S. commercial fishing gear because of the government's inaction.
How did we get our numbers? We conducted an analysis of the most recent government stock assessment reports available for each of the marine mammal populations managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Twenty-seven marine mammal populations are still being illegally killed in significant numbers. If the law was enforced, our study found that 1,900 marine mammals would be saved each year -- including 533 dolphins and porpoises, 27 whales, and 1,332 seals and sea lions. To learn more, please download our study