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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Marine Mammal Authorization Program Registration

Marine Mammal Authorization Program (MMAP)

Killer whales swimming
Killer whales. Photo: Josh Keaton, NOAA Fisheries

Human-caused mortality and injury of marine mammals is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, except under certain circumstances. The Marine Mammal Authorization Program (MMAP) provides an annual exemption for the accidental injury or mortality of marine mammals that occurs during commercial fishing operations. However, this exemption does not include marine mammal stocks listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

To lawfully, incidentally take a non-ESA listed marine mammal in a commercial fishery, a fishing permit holder in a Category I or II fishery (see annual List of Fisheries for fishery categorization) must obtain an MMAP Authorization Certificate from NMFS each calendar year.

Authorization Certificate

A MMAP Authorization Certificate with the terms and conditions of the exemption and a marine mammal mortality and injury report form are sent at the beginning of every year to each permit holder registered in a Category I or II fishery. The fisheries are managed either by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game or NMFS. The MMAP certificate must be physically accessible to the permit holder while fishing. MMAP certificates are valid for that calendar year, and will only be valid if presented along with a valid fishing permit.

Category I or II fishery permit holders who do not receive an MMAP Authorization Certificate by January 1 of each year, should call NOAA Fisheries to request one at (907) 586-7236.

MMAP Documents:

Mortality and Injury Report

The Marine Mammal Mortality and Injury Report is only required to be submitted when an incidental mortality or injury to a marine mammal occurs during commercial fishing activities. Permit holders in Category I, II, or III fisheries are required to report an incidental mortality or injury within 48 hours after the end of the fishing trip, or, for non-vessel fisheries, within 48 hours of an occurrence of an incidental mortality or injury. A separate report form is required for each fishery, for each date, and for each location. Permit holders must submit a report for each incidental injury or mortality even if an observer is assigned to the vessel or set net site during the day in which the take occurs.

Category III fishery participants are automatically exempted from the incidental take prohibition. Therefore, they do not need to maintain an MMAP certificate aboard their vessels or at their set net site. However, Category III participants must report any incidental takes of marine mammals within 48 hours of the incident or return to port. Such reports must be made on reporting form noted above.

Report Form:


Rhonda McMichael
NMFS Protected Resources
P.O. Box 21668 (Fed Ex: 709 West 9th Street)
Juneau, AK 99802
PH: (907) 586-7236
Fax: (907) 586-7235

Patricia Lawson
NMFS Protected Resources
1315 East-West Hwy.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
PH: (301) 713-2322
FX: (301) 713-4060