Laws and Regulations

The United States has enacted laws and created rules to protect our heritage of wildlife and their habitats. Each law or rule has its own unique purpose and uses permits in specific ways to protect species. The following provides links to the full text of each law or rule implemented by the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Endangered Species Act (ESA, 1973) was established to conserve the Nation's natural heritage for the enjoyment and benefit of current and future generations. The ESA provides for the conservation of species which are at risk of endangerment or extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range and for the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend. "Species" is defined by the ESA to mean a species, a subspecies, or, for vertebrates only, a distinct population. Under the ESA, take is defined as "to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct."
For more information: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/esa.htm

Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA, 1972) establishes a moratorium on the taking of marine mammals in U.S. waters by any person and by U.S. citizens in international waters and the importation of marine mammals and their products into the U.S. Certain activities are exempted from this moratorium, including scientific research, enhancing the survival or recovery of a species or stock, photography, public display, and incidental take during commercial fisheries and non-fisheries activities.
For more information: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/mmpa.htm

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 1969) mandates that before Federal agencies make decisions, they must consider the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment. In enacting NEPA, Congress recognized that nearly all Federal activities affect the environment in some way and NEPA assigns the Council on Environmental Quality the task of ensuring that Federal agencies meet their obligations under the NEPA. The challenge of harmonizing our economic, environmental and social aspirations has put NEPA at the forefront of our nation's efforts to protect the environment.
For more information: http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/nepa/nepaeqia.htm

Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) for fish and wildlife are set by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission. The rules set up the process for obtaining a Scientific Taking Permit to take fish or wildlife for scientific purposes.
For more information: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/OARs/07.pdf The previous link is an external site.