The Marine Mammal Commission was mandated by Congress through the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to provide independent oversight of the marine mammal conservation policies and programs being carried out by federal regulatory agencies. We regularly communicate with Congress on specific topics related to our mission to conserve marine mammals and their ecosystems.
We have been called to testify to Congress on specific actions impacting marine mammals and their environment. We have also organized Congressional briefings on specific topics of interest or concern to the Commission.
Browse the links below to learn more about recent Congressional briefings organized by the Commission.
Briefing on the MMPA 50th Anniversary: Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program
May 19, 2022
The Marine Mammal Commission participated in a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) briefing on the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program for all interested members of Congress and staff. The purpose of the briefing was to celebrate the Program as part of the 50th anniversary of the MMPA, and highlight the Program’s work to coordinate emergency responses to sick, injured, distressed, or dead marine mammals. View the Commission’s talk given by Chair Frances Gulland here and the briefing presentation here.
Briefing on the MMPA 50th Anniversary: Overview and Successes
February 9, 2022
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Commission co-hosted a briefing for all interested members of Congress and staff on the MMPA to celebrate the Act’s 50th anniversary. The purpose of the briefing was to provide an overview of the MMPA and the three federal entities that share responsibility for implementing the Act. View the Commission’s talk here and the briefing presentation here.
Roundtable Participant on Walrus in Alaska
June 10, 2019
Kawerak, Inc., and the Eskimo Walrus Commission co-hosted a Congressional roundtable discussion focused on increasing awareness of the cultural and economic importance of walrus and ivory carving to Alaska Natives. The event was prompted in part by pending legislation to pre-empt States from regulating trade in otherwise legal walrus-ivory handicrafts. The Marine Mammal Commission’s Executive Director, Peter Thomas, spoke about the Marine Mammal Protection Act exemption allowing the take of marine mammals by Alaska Natives for the purposes of subsistence or creating and selling authentic native handicrafts. View the roundtable discussion.
Briefing on Marine Mammal Bycatch
September 14, 2016
The Commission and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) co-hosted a Congressional briefing focused on marine mammal bycatch. The goal of this event was to increase awareness of the threat to marine mammals from bycatch in fisheries around the world, and to discuss potential solutions to mitigate such impacts in the United States and abroad. Learn more.
Briefing on Impacts of Sound on Marine Mammals
September 25, 2014
The Commission and NMFS hosted a Congressional briefing on the impacts of sound on marine mammals. The purpose of the briefing was to provide an overview of the science and policy issues associated with sound impacts on marine mammals and their environment, with a particular emphasis on shipping. Learn more.
Briefing on Marine Mammal Health and Stranding
August 1, 2013
The Commission and NMFS, in partnership with the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network, hosted a Congressional briefing on marine mammal health and stranding. The purpose of the briefing was to provide an overview of the major trends and issues in strandings, the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, and how partnerships between federal and private stakeholders help address challenges in marine mammal stranding response, research, and conservation. Learn more.