Marine Mammal Commission Poised for Elimination

For 45 years, the Marine Mammal Commission, an independent agency of the United States government, has provided oversight of federal activities and programs affecting marine mammals, as mandated by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

This could all change on October 1, 2017, with the agency’s proposed elimination.

On May 23, President Trump released the Administration’s budget proposal to Congress, requesting the elimination of the Marine Mammal Commission in fiscal year 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017. The role of the Commission helps ensure a regulatory process that abides by Congressional directives, providing science-based oversight of domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies with mandates to address human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems. It’s the only U.S. government agency that provides comprehensive oversight of science, policy, and management actions affecting marine mammals. According to the Commission, their annual operating budget averages just over one penny per American per year.*
* Source: Marine Mammal Commission Proposed for Elimination

At a time when our oceans, and the marine mammals that reside in them are under constant threat, marine mammal and marine ecosystem conservation could be severely impacted with the loss of the Commission.

Wild bottlenose dolphins

Wild bottlenose dolphins
Credit: Oxana Fedorova

Calling all U.S. citizens:
How You Can Help

 

The U.S. Congress has the final word on this matter. If you are a U.S. citizen, please consider sending your state’s Congressional delegation an email supporting continued funding of the Commission, at least at its current level ($3.431 million). Please also consider contacting the four members of Congress listed below who are responsible for the Commission’s budget. If you are not a U.S. citizen but share this concern, you can contact the offices of the four members of Congress listed below.

The key Congressional contacts are:

Senator Richard Shelby, Chair
Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
https://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
https://www.shaheen.senate.gov/

Representative John Culberson, Chair
House Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
https://culberson.house.gov/

Representative José Serrano, Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
https://serrano.house.gov/

Featured image: Marine Mammal Commission

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands
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