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: ESA information.
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: MMPA information.
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: NEPA information.
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: Oregon regulations.