Regulatory Brief

 National Policy for Distinguishing Serious From Non-Serious Injuries of Marine Mammals (July 2011)


Formal title: Docket Number [2011-18037] National Policy for Distinguishing Serious From Non-Serious Injuries of Marine Mammals

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) solicits public comments on the draft Policy and Procedural Directives regarding the draft National Policy for Distinguishing Serious From Non-Serious Injuries of Marine Mammals.


Brief Description:

NMFS developed a draft national policy, comprised of a Policy Directive and associated Procedural Directive, for distinguishing serious from non-serious injuries of marine mammals. The draft Directives were developed by reviewing injury determinations from 1997- 2008, current scientific information, and a new analysis of existing NMFS data.

AVMA Response:

The AVMA applauds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for its efforts in developing a draft national policy for distinguishing serious injuries from non-serious injuries of marine mammals. The AVMA encourages the use of appropriately experienced and qualified veterinarians to optimize the health and welfare of marine mammals. It appreciates that such veterinarians were selected by the NMFS to be part of the Serious Injury Technical Workshop of 2007, which provided the background expertise incorporated in this draft national plan.

The clarification and standardization of reporting criteria provided within the draft Policy and Procedural Directives should prove extremely beneficial in analyzing and utilizing marine mammal injury reports. The draft national policy will allow for a more accurate assessment of human-caused injuries and mortalities of marine mammals. This will help facilitate and enhance strategic mitigation efforts for improved protection of marine mammals. While the draft plan does not eliminate some uncontrollable variables, such as unreported events or undetected events, it is still an excellent step forward.

Background Documents:

August 15, 2011 – Full AVMA Response (PDF)

July 18, 2011 – Federal Register Notice (PDF)

Draft Policy for Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals (PDF)

Draft Procedure for Distinguishing Serious from Non-Serious Injury of Marine Mammals (PDF)

Relevant AVMA Policies:

Status:

NMFS response to public comments on the Draft Policy and Procedural Directives (PDF)