As recommended by the AVMA Committee on Environmental Issues, the Executive Board has approved AVMA support for reauthorization of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The AVMA position recognizes the need for appropriately balanced management to reduce potential conflicts among species.
The AVMA also supports the need for access to marine mammals by qualified veterinarians who can provide veterinary care and conduct health-related research.
The AVMA Aquaculture and Seafood Advisory Committee and the Legislative Advisory Committee concurred with this recommendation.
Reauthorization of the legislation would help marine mammal populations recover from adverse events such as excessive harvest, outbreaks of infectious disease, trauma, and toxicant-induced illness.
Legislative revisions should, however, include language increasing the access of qualified veterinarians to these species. Revisions should also accommodate the needs of other species that share the marine environment. Where marine mammal species are abundant and are preying on threatened fish species, for example, it may be desirable to institute appropriate control methods.
In a related recommendation, the board approved AVMA co-sponsorship of the 4th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health through a $500 contribution. The event is scheduled for Sept. 1-5, 2002 in New Orleans. Convened every four years, it attracts participants from some 25 countries.
The board approved renaming the Aquaculture Medicine Section of the AVMA Annual Convention the more encompassing Aquatic Animal Medicine Section, beginning in 2003.