Marine mammals and their homes are under assault. Each year, hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are killed, and many more injured, as a result of human activities.
AWI’s new Marine Mammals brochure outlines the primary dangers marine mammals face from human activities in and affecting the oceans. These threats include pollution in the form of debris, chemicals, and excessive noise; habitat degradation; climate change; hunting; ship strikes; capture for marine theme park and aquarium display; and interactions with and competition from commercial fisheries.
In the United States, The Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972 to prevent the harassment, capture, injury, or killing of marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, walruses, manatees, dugongs, sea otters, and polar bears. International bodies and treaties—including the International Whaling Commission and the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears—also exist to conserve and manage particular marine mammal species.
Despite these agreements and efforts, marine mammals continue to be needlessly killed or harmed. Stronger laws, more effective enforcement of existing laws, and international agreements that specifically include safeguards for marine mammals are all necessary to ensure that these animals continue to thrive in their aquatic habitats.