An independent agency dedicated solely to the protection of sea-dwelling mammals – the Marine Mammal Commission – is another one of the vital structures that are currently threatened by Donald Trump’s planned budget. This federal agency protects the marine mammals living in and on the seas, like whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, sea otters, manatees, walruses, and polar bears. It was charged by the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972 and, since then, has provided vital science-based oversight of domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies. It also looks into how humans impact the lives of marine mammals.
Throughout the 45 years of its existence, the agency has done a great deal of much-needed work to research marine mammals and spread knowledge about different species, helping us understand these fascinating creatures better. As highlighted by a petition on Care2, it also launched many collaborative efforts which have dramatically reduced the deaths of marine animals from things such as ghost fishing nets, ship and boat strikes, loss of habitat, and noise pollution.
Now, however, the President is worried that the agency, with its budget of just over three million dollars, puts a strain on the 1.1 trillion dollar budget of the U.S… With just three commissioners and a very small staff, Marine Mammal Commission is obviously not a source of any potential financial difficulties for the country. Serious difficulties, however, will be faced by the marine mammals if the precious work of the agency is stopped. The elimination of the commission would be great news to the offshore oil industry, the fishing industry, and simply everyone who thinks of marine mammals, not as living creatures that have to be respected and protected, but rather inconvenient things that thwart their quick profit.
It may feel like signing petitions is a very small thing – and surely one that we do a lot of, especially in the past months – but it is also the easiest action that each of us can and should do to make our stance clear. Click here to sign the petition to fully fund the Marine Mammal Commission for 2018 and beyond!
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