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Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 216 → Subpart B


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 216—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS


Subpart B—Prohibitions


Contents
§216.11   Prohibited taking.
§216.12   Prohibited importation.
§216.13   Prohibited uses, possession, transportation, sales, and permits.
§216.14   Marine mammals taken before the MMPA.
§216.15   Depleted species.
§216.16   Prohibitions under the General Authorization for Level B harassment for scientific research.
§216.17   General prohibitions.
§216.18   Approaching humpback whales in Alaska.
§216.19   Special restrictions for humpback whales in waters surrounding the islands of Hawaii.

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§216.11   Prohibited taking.

Except as otherwise provided in subparts C, D, and I of this part 216 or in part 228 or 229, it is unlawful for:

(a) Any person, vessel, or conveyance subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take any marine mammal on the high seas, or

(b) Any person, vessel, or conveyance to take any marine mammal in waters or on lands under the jurisdiction of the United States, or

(c) Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take any marine mammal during the moratorium.

[39 FR 1852, Jan. 15, 1974, as amended at 47 FR 21254, May 18, 1982; 54 FR 21921, May 19, 1989]

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§216.12   Prohibited importation.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subparts C and D of this part 216, it is unlawful for any person to import any marine mammal or marine mammal product into the United States.

(b) Regardless of whether an importation is otherwise authorized pursuant to subparts C and D of this part 216, it is unlawful for any person to import into the United States any:

(1) Marine mammal:

(i) Taken in violation of the MMPA, or

(ii) Taken in another country in violation to the laws of that country;

(2) Any marine mammal product if

(i) The importation into the United States of the marine mammal from which such product is made would be unlawful under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, or

(ii) The sale in commerce of such product in the country of origin if the product is illegal.

(c) Except in accordance with an exception referred to in subpart C and §§216.31 (regarding scientific research permits only) and 216.32 of this part 216, it is unlawful to import into the United States any:

(1) Marine mammal which was pregnant at the time of taking.

(2) Marine mammal which was nursing at the time of taking, or less than 8 months old, whichever occurs later.

(3) Specimen of an endangered or threatened species of marine mammal.

(4) Specimen taken from a depleted species or stock of marine mammals, or

(5) Marine mammal taken in an inhumane manner.

(d) It is unlawful to import into the United States any fish, whether fresh, frozen, or otherwise prepared, if such fish was caught in a manner proscribed by the Secretary of Commerce for persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether or not any marine mammals were in fact taken incident to the catching of the fish.

[39 FR 1852, Jan. 15, 1974, as amended at 59 FR 50375, Oct. 3, 1994]

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§216.13   Prohibited uses, possession, transportation, sales, and permits.

It is unlawful for:

(a) Any person to use any port, harbor or other place under the jurisdiction of the United States for any purpose in any way connected with a prohibited taking or an unlawful importation of any marine mammal or marine mammal product; or

(b) Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to possess any marine mammal taken in violation of the MMPA or these regulations, or to transport, sell, or offer for sale any such marine mammal or any marine mammal product made from any such mammal.

(c) Any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to use in a commercial fishery, any means or method of fishing in contravention of regulations and limitations issued by the Secretary of Commerce for that fishery to achieve the purposes of this MMPA.

(d) Any person to violate any term, condition, or restriction of any permit issued by the Secretary.

[39 FR 1852, Jan. 15, 1974, as amended at 59 FR 50375, 50376, Oct. 3, 1994; 61 FR 21933, May 10, 1996]

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§216.14   Marine mammals taken before the MMPA.

(a) Section 102(e) of the MMPA provides, in effect, that the MMPA shall not apply to any marine mammal taken prior to December 21, 1972, or to any marine mammal product, consisting of or composed in whole or in part of, any marine mammal taken before that date. This prior status of any marine mammal or marine mammal product may be established by submitting to the Director, National Marine Fisheries Service prior to, or at the time of importation, an affidavit containing the following:

(1) The Affiant's name and address;

(2) Identification of the Affiant;

(3) A description of the marine mammals or marine mammal products which the Affiant desires to import;

(4) A statement by the Affiant that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, the marine mammals involved in the application were taken prior to December 21, 1972;

(5) A statement by the Affiant in the following language:

The foregoing is principally based on the attached exhibits which, to the best of my knowledge and belief, are complete, true and correct. I understand that this affidavit is being submitted for the purpose of inducing the Federal Government to permit the importation of—under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361 through 1407) and regulations promulgated thereunder, and that any false statements may subject me to the criminal penalties of 13 U.S.C. 1001, or to penalties under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

(b) Either one of two exhibits shall be attached to such affidavit, and will contain either:

(1) Records or other available evidence showing that the product consists of or is composed in whole or in part of marine mammals taken prior to the effective date of the MMPA. Such records or other evidentiary material must include information on how, when, where, and by whom the animals were taken, what processing has taken place since taking, and the date and location of such processing; or

(2) A statement from a government agency of the country of origin exercising jurisdiction over marine mammals that any and all such mammals from which the products sought to be imported were derived were taken prior to December 21, 1972.

(c) No pre-Act marine mammal or pre-Act marine mammal product may be imported unless the requirements of this section have been fulfilled.

(d) This section has no application to any marine mammal or marine mammal product intended to be imported pursuant to §§216.21, 216.31 or §216.32.

[39 FR 1852, Jan. 15, 1974, as amended at 59 FR 50375, 50376, Oct. 3, 1994]

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§216.15   Depleted species.

The following species or population stocks have been designated by the Assistant Administrator as depleted under the provisions of the MMPA.

(a) Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi).

(b) Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus).

(c) North Pacific fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus). Pribilof Island population.

(d) Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), coastal-migratory stock along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast.

(e) Eastern spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris orientalis).

(f) Northeastern offshore spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata).

(g) Cook Inlet, Alaska, stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). The stock includes all beluga whales occurring in waters of the Gulf of Alaska north of 58° North latitude including, but not limited to, Cook Inlet, Kamishak Bay, Chinitna Bay, Tuxedni Bay, Prince William Sound, Yakutat Bay, Shelikof Strait, and off Kodiak Island and freshwater tributaries to these waters.

(h) Eastern North Pacific Southern Resident stock of killer whales (Orcinus orca). The stock includes all resident killer whales in pods J, K, and L in the waters of, but not limited to, the inland waterways of southern British Columbia and Washington, including the Georgia Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound.

(i) AT1 stock of killer whales (Orcinus orca). The stock includes all killer whales belonging to the AT1 group of transient killer whales occurring primarily in waters of Prince William Sound, Resurrection Bay, and the Kenai Fjords region of Alaska.

(j) Sakhalin Bay-Nikolaya Bay-Amur River beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). The stock includes all beluga whales primarily occurring in, but not limited to, waters of Sakhalin Bay, Nikolaya Bay, and Amur River in the Sea of Okhotsk.

[53 FR 17899, May 18, 1988, as amended at 58 FR 17791, Apr. 6, 1993; 58 FR 45074, Aug. 26, 1993; 58 FR 58297, Nov. 1, 1993; 59 FR 50376, Oct. 3, 1994; 65 FR 34597, May 31, 2000; 68 FR 31983, May 29, 2003; 69 FR 31324, June 3, 2004; 81 FR 74719, Oct. 27, 2016]

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§216.16   Prohibitions under the General Authorization for Level B harassment for scientific research.

It shall be unlawful for any person to:

(a) Provide false information in a letter of intent submitted pursuant to §216.45(b);

(b) Violate any term or condition imposed pursuant to §216.45(d).

[59 FR 50376, Oct. 3, 1994]

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§216.17   General prohibitions.

It is unlawful for any person to:

(a) Assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any authorized officer in the conduct of any search, inspection, investigation or seizure in connection with enforcement of the MMPA, DPCIA, or IDCPA.

(b) Interfere with, delay, or prevent by any means the apprehension of another person, knowing that such person has committed any act prohibited by the MMPA.

(c) Resist a lawful arrest for any act prohibited under the MMPA.

(d) Make any false statement, oral or written, to an authorized officer concerning any act under the jurisdiction of the MMPA, DPCIA, IDCPA, or attempt to do any of the above.

(e) Interfere with, obstruct, delay, or prevent by any means an investigation, search, seizure, or disposition of seized property in connection with enforcement of the MMPA, DPCIA, or IDCPA.

[70 FR 19008, Apr. 12, 2005]

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§216.18   Approaching humpback whales in Alaska.

(a) Prohibitions. Except as provided under paragraph (b) of this section, it is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to commit, to attempt to commit, to solicit another to commit, or to cause to be committed, within 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) of Alaska, or within inland waters of the state, any of the acts in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(3) of this section with respect to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae):

(1) Approach, by any means, including by interception (i.e., placing a vessel in the path of an oncoming humpback whale so that the whale surfaces within 100 yards (91.4 m) of the vessel), within 100 yards (91.4 m) of any humpback whale;

(2) Cause a vessel or other object to approach within 100 yards (91.4 m) of a humpback whale; or

(3) Disrupt the normal behavior or prior activity of a whale by any other act or omission. A disruption of normal behavior may be manifested by, among other actions on the part of the whale, a rapid change in direction or speed; escape tactics such as prolonged diving, underwater course changes, underwater exhalation, or evasive swimming patterns; interruptions of breeding, nursing, or resting activities, attempts by a whale to shield a calf from a vessel or human observer by tail swishing or by other protective movement; or the abandonment of a previously frequented area.

(b) Exceptions. The following exceptions apply, but any person who claims the applicability of an exception has the burden of proving that the exception applies:

(1) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply if an approach is authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service through a permit issued under subpart D of this part (Special Exceptions) or through a similar authorization.

(2) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to the extent that a vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver and, because of the restriction, cannot comply with paragraph (a) of this section.

(3) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to commercial fishing vessels lawfully engaged in actively setting, retrieving or closely tending commercial fishing gear. For purposes of this section, commercial fishing means taking or harvesting fish or fishery resources to sell, barter, or trade. Commercial fishing does not include commercial passenger fishing operations (i.e., charter operations or sport fishing activities).

(4) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to state, local, or Federal government vessels operating in the course of official duty.

(5) Paragraph (a) of this section does not affect the rights of Alaska Natives under 16 U.S.C. 1539(e).

(6) This section shall not take precedence over any more restrictive conflicting Federal regulation pertaining to humpback whales, including the regulations at 36 CFR 13.1102-13.1188 that pertain specifically to the waters of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

(c) General measures. Notwithstanding the prohibitions and exceptions in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, to avoid collisions with humpback whales, vessels must operate at a slow, safe speed when near a humpback whale. “Safe speed” has the same meaning as the term is defined in 33 CFR 83.06 and the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (see 33 U.S.C. 1602), with respect to avoiding collisions with humpback whales.

[81 FR 62020, Sept. 8, 2016]

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§216.19   Special restrictions for humpback whales in waters surrounding the islands of Hawaii.

(a) Prohibitions. Except as noted in paragraph (b) of this section, it is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to commit, to attempt to commit, to solicit another to commit, or to cause to be committed, within 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) of the islands of Hawaii, any of the following acts with respect to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae):

(1) Operate any aircraft within 1,000 feet (304.8 m) of any humpback whale;

(2) Approach, by any means, within 100 yards (91.4 m) of any humpback whale;

(3) Cause a vessel, person, or other object to approach within 100 yards (91.4 m) of a humpback whale;

(4) Approach a humpback whale by interception (i.e., placing an aircraft, vessel, person, or other object in the path of a humpback whale so that the whale approaches within 1,000 feet (304.8 m) of the aircraft or 100 yards (91.4 m) of the vessel, person, or object); or

(5) Disrupt the normal behavior or prior activity of a whale by any other act or omission. A disruption of normal behavior may be manifested by, among other actions on the part of the whale, a rapid change in direction or speed; escape tactics such as prolonged diving, underwater course changes, underwater exhalation, or evasive swimming patterns; interruptions of breeding, nursing, or resting activities, attempts by a whale to shield a calf from a vessel or human observer by tail swishing or by other protective movements; or the abandonment of a previously frequented area.

(b) Exceptions. The prohibitions of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to:

(1) Federal, State, or local government vessels or persons operating in the course of their official duties such as law enforcement, search and rescue, or public safety;

(2) Vessel operations necessary to avoid an imminent and serious threat to a person, vessel, or the environment;

(3) Vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver, and because of this restriction are not able to comply with approach restrictions; or

(4) Vessels or persons authorized under permit or authorization issued by NMFS to conduct scientific research or response efforts that may result in taking of humpback whales.

(c) Affirmative defense. (1) In connection with any action alleging a violation of this section, any person claiming the benefit of any exemption, exception, or permit listed in paragraph (b) of this section has the burden of proving that the exemption or exception is applicable, or that the permit was granted and was valid and in force at the time of the alleged violation.

(2) [Reserved]

[81 FR 62017, Sept. 8, 2016]

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