Summary: S.1636 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (04/26/1994)

Marine Mammal Protection Act Amendments of 1994 - Amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1993 with respect to the moratorium and exceptions on the taking and importing of marine mammals to allow the issuance of permits for: (1) scientific research, public display, photography for educational or commercial purposes, or enhancing the survival of a species or stock; or (2) importing polar bear parts taken in sport hunts in Canada.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Secretary of Commerce to publish guidelines for use in safely deterring marine mammals from damaging private or public property or endangering personal safety.

Allows the issuance of permits for non-commercial fishing operations within specific geographic regions for the incidental, but not intentional, taking by harassment of small numbers of marine mammals of a species or population stock if it is found that: (1) such taking will have a negligible impact on such species or stock; and (2) will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stock.

Allows the issuance of permits for commercial fishing operations for the incidental, but not intentional, taking of marine mammals listed as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 if it is determined that: (1) such taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock; (2) a monitoring program is established and a take reduction plan has been or is being developed; and (3) a recovery plan has been developed or is in the process of being developed. States that the incidental taking of California Sea otters shall not be governed by the preceding and that Public Law 99-625 is neither amended nor repealed by the preceding.

Authorizes the Secretary to modify, suspend, or revoke such permits.

Allows the import of marine mammal products under certain circumstances.

Allows the taking of a marine mammal in self-defense or the defense of others. Requires such incidents to be reported to the Secretary within 48 hours. Authorizes the Secretary to seize and dispose of any carcass.

(Sec. 5) Sets forth prohibitions and administrative procedures for issuing permits. Directs the Secretary to undertake a scientific review of the impact of permits on the polar bear stock in Canada.

(Sec. 6) Allows the use of monies in the Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event Fund for the care and maintenance of certain marine mammals seized under permits granted by this Act.

(Sec. 7) Provides that if the Secretary determines, based on a stock assessment or new information, that impacts on rookeries, mating grounds or other areas of ecological significance to marine mammals may be causing the decline or impeding the recovery of a strategic stock, then the Secretary may implement conservation or management measures to alleviate those impacts. Requires the Secretary to: (1) review the effectiveness of the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears; and (2) report to specified congressional committees on consultation with the Russian Federation on the development and implementation of enhanced cooperative research and management programs for the conservation of polar bears in Alaska and Russia.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes a take reduction plan, if necessary, to reduce incidental taking during commercial fishing operations.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes appropriations for FY 1994 through 1999.

(Sec. 10) Requires the publication of updated stock assessments annually for stocks considered strategic or for which significant new information is available and every three years for all other marine mammal stocks.

Directs the Secretary to establish three independent scientific review groups representing Alaska, the Pacific coast (including Hawaii), and the Atlantic coast (including the Gulf of Mexico) to review proposed actions and to advise the Secretary as appropriate.

(Sec. 11) Describes regulations to accompany the general authorization for the incidental commercial taking of marine mammals. Establishes the immediate goal that the incidental kill or serious injury of marine mammals in the course of commercial fishing operations be reduced to insignificant levels approaching a zero mortality and serious injury rate within seven years. Allows the charging of a fee for such authorization.

Directs the Secretary to establish a program to monitor incidental mortality and serious injury takes during the course of commercial fishing operations which includes observers on certain vessels.

Requires the establishment of take reduction plans to reduce incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals below the potential biological removal levels and on methods of reducing incidental mortality or serious injury to insignificant levels approaching zero within five years. Authorizes the establishment of take reduction teams to facilitate the development of such plans.

Authorizes the Secretary to prescribe emergency regulations if incidental mortality and serious injury from commercial fishing operations have an immediate and significant adverse impact on a stock or species, including placing observers on vessels.

(Sec. 14) Declares that nothing in this Act is intended to alter any treaties between the United States and Indian tribes.

(Sec. 17) Prohibits a person from approaching closer than 100 yards to a humpback whale or any other whale in waters of the United States surrounding the State of Hawaii by any means other than an aircraft.

(Sec. 18) Sets forth scrimshaw exemption provisions.

(Sec. 19) Authorizes the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with Alaska Native organizations to conserve marine mammals and provide comanagement of subsistence use by Alaska Natives. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1994 through 1999 for grants to assist such organizations.

(Sec. 20) Directs the Secretary to convene a regional workshop for the Gulf of Maine to assess human-caused factors affecting the health and stability of that marine ecosystem, of which marine mammals are a part.

Directs the Secretary to undertake a scientific research program to monitor the health and stability of the Bering Sea marine ecosystem and to resolve uncertainties concerning the causes of population declines of marine mammals, sea birds, and other living resources of that marine ecosystem.

(Sec. 21) Amends the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986 to increase authorized appropriations for FY 1994 and 1995.

(Sec. 22) Directs the Secretary of the Navy to convey to the Secretary of Commerce a portion of the Naval Base, Charleston, South Carolina, for use by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(Sec. 23) Allows a State to apply to the Secretary for the intentional lethal taking of individually identifiable pinnipeds which are having a significant negative impact on the decline or recovery of certain salmonid fishery stocks. Authorizes the Secretary to establish a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force to advise on responding to such application.

Directs the Secretary to engage in a scientific investigation to determine whether California sea lions and Pacific harbor seals: (1) are having a significant negative impact on the recovery of salmonid fishery stocks which have been listed as endangered species or threatened species, or which the Secretary finds are approaching such status; or (2) are having broader impacts on the coastal ecosystems of Washington, Oregon, and California.

Authorizes the Secretary to conduct a study, of not less than three high predation areas in anadromous fish migration corridors within the Northwest Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service, on the interaction between fish and pinnipeds.

Establishes a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force to advise on issues or problems regarding pinnipeds interacting in a dangerous or damaging manner with aquaculture resources in the Gulf of Maine. Requires a report to specified congressional committees on alternatives to mitigate such interactions.

Allows the Secretary to publish a stock assessment for Gulf of Maine harbor porpoise in an expedited fashion.

(Sec. 25) Provides for the transfer of amounts appropriated to the Department of the Navy for Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy to the Administrator of the Maritime Administration for the conversion of the USNS CHAUVENET to a training ship for the Texas Maritime Academy's Training Program.