environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity.” The goal of the MMPA is to “replenish any species or population stock which has diminished below its optimum sustainable level,” but its basic regulatory tool involves a prohibition on “taking” marine mammals, where take is defined as “to harass, hunt, capture or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture or kill.” Similarly, the ESA aims to “conserve endangered species and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend,” but it also relies on a prohibition of taking individual animals. The prohibition on taking marine mammals made sense when the dominant conservation problems involved directed hunting and animals incidentally killed by commercial fishing. It is much more difficult to relate harassment takes to population effects.
A number of the workshop panelists agreed that the concept of Potential Biological Removal (PBR) (Taylor et al., 2000) as developed by scientists at NOAA Fisheries, and the concept of the revised management procedure (Cooke, 1994) as developed by scientists associated with the International Whaling Commission, represented the best current approaches to management of human effects on marine mammals under conditions of inadequate data. This chapter reviews the PBR concept and suggests how harassment and other takes could be incorporated into it. The PBR concept is attractive because it is based on a small number of clearly defined and easily understood variables. The limits of acceptable population impact determine the allowable removals. Extensive modeling and sensitivity analysis confirmed that the selected parameter values ensured, with high probability, that the population impacts would be within the prescribed bounds. Anyone who feels that the allowed removals are set either too low or too high can present new data and interpretation in peer-reviewed publications that NOAA Fisheries uses in stock assessments and establishment of PBR.
FINDING: Development of a model, such as the PCAD model, to inform regulatory decisions is critical for a full understanding of the biological significance of anthropogenic noise on marine mammal populations, but a more immediate solution is necessary.
RECOMMENDATION 6: A practical process should be developed to help in assessing the likelihood that specific acoustic sources will have adverse effects on a marine mammal population by disrupting normal behavioral patterns. Such a