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Marine Mammal Commission Report on Population Viability and Budgetary Priorities for Recovery of Engangered Marine Mammals

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The Biological Viability of the Most Endangered Marine Mammals and the Cost-effectiveness of Protection Programs. A Report to Congress from teh Marine Mammal Commission. February 2008. [DOWNLOAD REPORT (pdf)]
This 400+ page report is the culmination of a multi-year initiative by the MMC. It includes about 60 pages of summation, followed by several lenghty appendixes, the most substantial being a 160-page species-by-species assessment of endangered, threatened, and depleted marine mammals, focusing on historic and current populations, and the status of protection programs for each, and a 30-page report on the population viability of each species; two other sections address Right whale recovery efforts, as this species is a major focus in the western Atlantic. Among the goals of the report is to make recommendations as to how best to prioritize population recovery efforts, within the context of limited funding. The report notes, for example, that some species have received relatively high levels of attention via directed funding (e.g., western Sterallar sea lions), while others have not received enough funding to prevent or even fully understand their ongoing declines (e.g., Cook Inlet beluga whales). Its key recommendation is that a coherent national strategy be developed, centered on a dynamic and adaptable approach that includes both a separate funding stream for research and management for marine mammal population recovery, and a strategy to prioritize recovery attention basedon objective criteria including risk of extinction, expected conservation benefits, competing conservation needs, based on a structured and transparent risk/benefit analysis. One striking element to the MMC report is the consistant attention paid to noise as a key factor in species stress, decline, and recovery.

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