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Serious injury determinations for small cetaceans and pinnipeds caught in commercial fisheries off the northeast US coast, 2014
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  • Description:
    "The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to estimate annual levels of human-caused mortality and serious injury to marine mammal stocks (section 117) and to categorize commercial fisheries based on their level of incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals (section 118). A serious injury is defined as an injury that is more likely than not to result in mortality. Serious injury (SI) determinations were addressed at NMFS-convened workshops in 1997 and 2007 (Angliss and DeMaster 1998; Andersen et al. 2008), and in January 2012 the agency published new national guidelines for distinguishing serious from nonserious injuries of marine mammals (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/serious_injury_procedure.pdf). A major goal of the new guidelines were to establish national consistency and transparency in SI determinations. To implement the new guidelines, Science Center SI determination (SID) staff from each region review all documented marine mammal injury events on an annual basis. For the initial year of implementation, the records for 2007-2011 were evaluated (Waring et al. 2014; Cole and Henry 2013). For small cetaceans and pinniped injury determinations in the Northeast Region, fisheries observer (OBS) and At Sea Monitor (ASM) records were reviewed for incidentally-caught animals that were released alive. Observer comments on the condition of released animals and any associated photographs were compared to specific injury categories described in the new guidelines procedure manual, and each event was assigned an injury determination. Once completed, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) SI small cetacean and pinniped determination table was independently reviewed by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center's (SWFSC) SID staff, the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO), and the Atlantic Scientific Review Group (SRG) before the SI determinations were finalized"--Introduction. [doi:10.7289/V5F18WSK(http://doi.org/10.7289/V5F18WSK)]

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