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United States v. Hayashi: Taking Aim at the Marine Mammal Protection Act

By Marc A. Yaggi

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The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was enacted in 1972, in an effort to curb the increasing fatality rates of marine mammals that were caused, in part, by fishermen. Upon enacting the MMPA, Congress implemented a "taking" provision - the core provision - which prohibits the "take" of any marine mammal, with certain exceptions for commercial fishermen. A criminal case involving the "take" provision, United States v. Hayashi, charged David Hayashi, a non-commercial fisherman, with violating the MMPA by firing a rifle at porpoises that were chasing his tuna catch. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Hayashi's conviction, effectively extending a statutory exemption to non-commercial fishermen. Following upon the heels of the Hayashi decision, Congress passed an amendment to the MMPA allowing general deterrence measures to be used to protect one's gear, catch or property. Pursuant to the amendment, regulations were proposed to implement the amendment. This Article begins by reviewing the broad goals of the MMPA, followed by an examination of the holding in the Hayashi case. Further, the Article reviews and analyzes the relevant amendment and proposed regulations to the "taking" provision, concluding that the proposed regulations were written in unjustifiable haste and will result in undermining the goals of the MMPA, by increasing marine mammal injury and fatality rate, at the hands of fishermen.


Katie Carroll

Date 1996
Publication Title Pace Environmental Law Review
Volume 14
Issue 1
Publisher Pace Law School
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Biodiversity
  4. Conservation
  5. Environment
  6. Fishing
  7. Law and legal issues
  8. Laws and regulations
  9. Mammals
  10. Marine animals
  11. Marine mammals
  12. Nature
  13. Physical environment
  14. Protection
  15. Wild animals