Whales, and other marine mammals, are protected under federal laws. So what do you need to know?
Marine Mammal Protection Act
- Protects ALL marine mammal species.
- Prohibits harming or harassing any marine mammal.
- Harassment includes anything that can change the animal’s natural behavior.
- Examples of illegal harassment can include: cutting off a whale’s path, interrupting feeding behaviors, attempting to swim-with or feed any marine mammal, approaching too closely and causing an animal to leave the area, etc.
- More information on the Marine Mammal Protection Act is available through NOAA Fisheries.
Our See A Spout, Watch Out! tips are specifically designed to help you avoid accidentally harassing whales.
Endangered Species Act
- Protects endangered and threatened marine mammal populations.
- Includes many large whales in the North Atlantic (fin, sei, and right whales).
- Provides additional protections to reduce human-caused harm or harassment.
- More information on the Endangered Species Act is available through NOAA Fisheries.