Strickland Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Protect Washington Killer Whales and Other Marine Mammals

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MP Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) introduced bipartisan legislation with Representatives Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) and Brian Mast (FL-18) to protect marine mammals like orcas, dolphins, seals and whales.

HR2848, The Marine Mammal Research and Response Act increases funding for two initiatives – the Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program and the Unusual Mortality Fund – which the federal government is using to support the efforts of local governments and non-profit organizations to save and rehabilitate sick and injured marine mammals and to determine what causes problems for mammals In the Senate, the Marine Mammal Research and Response Act was introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, science and transport. This bill is Strickland’s latest effort to better restore, conserve and protect Puget Sound and its wildlife. (Please find the invoice text at this link.)

“Here in the South Sound, we deeply appreciate the natural beauty and diverse wildlife of our state – including the orcas, gray whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins and otters that have made Puget their home. Sound. Without protection, endangered mammals such as our iconic killer whale pods and other endangered species will continue to be at risk. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Marine Mammal Research and Response Act to strengthen federal support for the rescue and rehabilitation of injured marine mammals, and to strengthen research on how to better protect these majestic animals before it’s too late “. said Strickland.

“Orcas, whales and other marine mammals are iconic symbols of the Pacific Northwest. Reauthorizing the Prescott grant program and increasing information sharing and collaboration among government, nonprofits and research institutes are critical to ensuring the recovery of marine mammal populations ”. said Senator Cantwell.

“Floridians take great pride in the diversity of our state’s wildlife, such as manatees, dolphins and other marine mammals. As we see after the surge in manatee deaths in Florida, these creatures need our help ”. Murphy said. “I am proud to join Representatives Strickland and Mast in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will strengthen federal support for efforts to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals in distress, and improve emergency response and scientific research so that we can act before it is too late. . “

“Decades of interest-driven policy making, including unhindered pollution and toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee, have destroyed the ecology of our waterways and repeatedly transformed the Indian Lagoon River into a toxic waterway infested with algae that kills manatees. Sadly, these animals are also the so-called ‘canary in the coal mine’ for a massive public health crisis in our state that must be stopped as soon as possible ”. Mast said. “This bipartisan legislation will provide federal support for efforts to rescue and rehabilitate these mammals, while strengthening efforts to stop this destruction before it is too late.”

CONTEXT:

The Prescott grant program is an integral part of organizations dedicated to protecting and restoring the health of marine mammals. Last year, the program distributed nearly $ 4 million, including $ 500,000 to organizations in Washington State. It is also the primary source of funding for organizations rescuing and rehabilitating sick or injured marine mammals, including the much publicized rescue of Springer, a member of the Northern Resident Killer Whale Group, in 2002.

In addition to improving Prescott’s grant program and the fund for unusual mortality events, the bill would create the “Joseph R. Geraci Marine Mammal Rescue and Rapid Response Fund”, named after a deceased scientist and veterinarian who was a leading expert in marine mammal medicine. and the conservation of aquatic fauna. This program would allow local governments and nonprofits to quickly access funding to treat marine mammals with emergency health problems.

The bill also creates a “marine mammal health monitoring and analysis platform” to collect and report more data on marine mammal deaths, and directs the National Academies of Science, Engineering and medicine to study marine mammal mortality events.



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