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Serious Injury Determinations for Small Cetaceans off the Southeast U.S. Coast, 2012–2016
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  • Description:
    The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to distinguish between injuries to marine mammals that are serious and not serious. During 2012 NMFS issued a policy directive and procedural directives to establish a process for distinguishing serious from non-serious injuries (NMFS 2012a, b). Thisdocument summarizes serious injury determinations for small cetaceans in southeast U.S. waters during 2012–2016. Data from various sources were assessed to compile this report. These sources include the NOAA National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Database, the Marine Mammal Authorization Program (fisherman self-reports), incidental take reports (unauthorized research gear takes), fishery observer records (excluding the pelagic longline fishery), and opportunistic at-sea observations by NOAA and non-NOAA researchers, marine patrol, and private citizens. All instances in the data for which a small cetacean was released alive following a human interaction, such as an entanglement in fishing gear or marine debris or a hooking, or observed alive at-sea entangled in fishing gear or debris, hooked, or boat struck, were evaluated.
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