Marine Mammal Protection in a Warming World

In March, Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) reintroduced the Marine Mammal Climate Change Protection Act (HR 1383), to protect marine mammals adversely affected by the climate crisis. Since 1972, the Marine Mammal Protection Act has prohibited the “take” of marine mammals—defined to include harassment, hunting, capturing, collecting, or killing—in US waters. Brownley seeks to bolster existing marine mammal protection law by directing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assess the impacts of the climate crisis on marine mammals and help protect them as conditions worsen. Upon the bill’s reintroduction, she stated, “We must act to address the impacts of climate change now before it becomes too late to protect marine life and the ecosystems they need that are critical to their survival.”

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