[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 193 (Thursday, October 6, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-24787]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: October 6, 1994]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
[I.D. 092994A]

 

Public Display of Marine Mammals

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), NationalOceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS is announcing that the American Zoo and Aquarium 
Association (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums 
(Alliance) have submitted, for reference purposes, the professionally 
accepted standards on which their members base their education and 
conservation programs. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) 
(16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) was amended substantially on April 30, 1994 
(P.L. 103-238) (1994 Amendments). These 1994 Amendments require that 
persons holding marine mammals for purposes of public display, or 
requesting issuance of a permit to capture or import a marine mammal 
for purposes of public display, must offer a program for education or 
conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized 
standards of the public display community. The AZA and Alliance 
together represent approximately 60 percent of U.S. facilities that 
currently hold marine mammals. Where applicable, the AZA or Alliance 
standards may be referenced by public display permit applicants and 
holders of marine mammals when exercising the rights established and 
submitting the documentation required under the MMPA. If alternative 
standards are provided as a part of a permit application to capture or 
import marine mammals, such standards will be published as part of the 
notice of receipt of the application that is published by NMFS in the 
Federal Register. Other holders of marine mammals or organizations 
representing members of the public display community may submit, for 
reference purposes, alternative standards on which education or 
conservation programs are based.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann Terbush, Permits Division, Office 
of Protected Resources, F/PR1, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, 
MD 20910-3226, (301) 713-2289.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In 1988 the MMPA was amended to require, among other things, that a 
permit be issued for public display purposes only to an applicant which 
offers a program for education or conservation that, based on 
professionally recognized standards of the public display community, is 
acceptable to the Secretary (i.e., Secretary of Commerce or Interior, 
depending upon the marine mammal species involved). In March 1989, NMFS 
initiated a comprehensive review of the permit program. At the 
beginning of this permit program review, it became clear that the 
phrase ``based on professionally recognized standards of the public 
display community'' did not refer to any existing standards already 
established by the public display community. Therefore, on May 22, 
1989, NMFS published in the Federal Register (54 FR 22001) a notice of 
interim policy regarding the education or conservation programs of 
applicants requesting permits to take or import marine mammals for 
public display. This notice announced the criteria that NMFS would use 
in determining the acceptability of education or conservation programs 
pending the promulgation of regulations for this purpose. The notice 
stated that in order to be determined acceptable by NMFS, ``an 
applicant's education or conservation program must include a program of 
formal or informal learning that conveys accurate information about the 
marine mammals being displayed and communicates in an effective manner 
a message and purpose that are consistent with the policies of the 
MMPA.''
    After conducting a comprehensive review of the entire permit 
program, NMFS published a proposed rule on October 14, 1993 (58 FR 
53320), to revise existing permit regulations for taking and importing 
marine mammals for purposes of public display, scientific research, and 
enhancement under the MMPA and the Endangered Species Act. This 
proposed rule included criteria for determining whether an applicant's 
education or conservation program is acceptable. These standards were 
based on the interim policy previously published in the Federal 
Register and the numerous comments and recommendations on the subject 
received during the permit program review.
    On April 30, 1994, the 1994 Amendments to the MMPA were enacted. 
Under the 1994 Amendments, the requirement that applicants for a permit 
for purposes of public display must offer an education or conservation 
program acceptable to the Secretary was eliminated and replaced by a 
requirement that, for purposes of public display, persons holding 
marine mammals and those issued a permit to capture or import must 
``offer a program for education or conservation purposes that is based 
on professionally recognized standards of the public display 
community.'' Essentially, although the Secretary is no longer required 
to determine whether education/conservation programs are acceptable, 
the Secretary must still determine whether a person offers a program 
for education or conservation purposes based on professionally 
recognized standards of the public display community. To ensure 
compliance with this requirement of the MMPA, applicants for a public 
display permit to capture or import marine mammals and persons holding 
marine mammals for purposes of public display must identify, by 
reference or description, the professionally recognized standards of 
the public display community on which their education or conservation 
programs are based.
    Although there are no professionally recognized standards for 
education or conservation programs that are uniformly accepted as such 
by the public display community, such standards are not required by the 
1994 Amendments. The 1994 Amendments require only that for purposes of 
public display persons holding marine mammals or requesting a permit to 
capture or import marine mammals must offer a program for education or 
conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized 
standards of the public display community. And, because any person 
holding marine mammals for purposes of public display is a member of 
the public display community and, therefore, may identify the 
professionally recognized standards on which their education or 
conservation program is based, for such persons this requirement is 
essentially one that relies on self-regulation. NMFS, therefore, asked 
the AZA and Alliance, as organizations which together represent 
approximately 60 percent of the public display facilities holding 
marine mammals, to identify the standards on which their members base 
their education and conservation programs. In making this request, NMFS 
stated that the standards identified by the AZA and Alliance would be 
published in the Federal Register; thus, enabling persons who offer an 
education or conservation program based on either the AZA or Alliance 
standards to use this notice as a reference instead of listing such 
standards repeatedly.
    NMFS recognizes that the AZA and Alliance do not represent the 
entire public display community and that some members of that community 
may offer education or conservation programs based on professionally 
recognized standards of the public display community that are different 
from those identified by either the AZA or Alliance. Consequently, 
other members or representative organizations of the public display 
community may also submit, for reference purposes, alternative 
standards on which education or conservation programs are based. NMFS 
may also publish in the Federal Register notice of such alternative 
standards for reference by the public display community. In addition, 
if alternative standards are provided as a part of a permit 
application, such standards will be published as a part of the notice 
of receipt of an application and opportunity for public comment that is 
published by NMFS in the Federal Register.

Standards

    The Alliance and AZA identified the following as the professionally 
recognized standards of the public display community on which their 
members have based their education and conservation programs:

Standards of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association

    1. Education must be an element of the mission statement of the 
institution.
    2. All institutions must have structured education programs, 
including a written education plan.
    3. The education program should be under the direction of a paid 
professional trained in educational programming. In those cases where 
employees have not yet been retained, someone should be assigned the 
responsibility to implement and manage the programs.
    4. Education programs should be evaluated on a regular basis for 
effectiveness and content and current scientific information included.
    5. Cooperative programs with institutions of higher learning should 
be developed.
    6. If animal demonstrations are a part of the institution's 
programs, an educational/conservation message must be incorporated.
    7. A reference library appropriate to the size and complexity of 
the institution should be available to all staff members.
    8. The graphics program must include information regarding the 
animal collection's conservation/ecology relation to humans/natural 
history and other interpretive elements.
    9. Exhibits in which endangered animals are displayed must include 
the designation as an endangered species and those displaying Species 
Survival Plan (SSP) animals should include a statement that the animals 
are a part of AZA's SSP program. It is recommended that the SSP program 
be highlighted by utilization of AZA's SSP logo and text.
    10. Recruitment, interviewing, training, and evaluation programs 
should exist for all programs utilizing volunteers/ docents.

Standards of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums

    1. Education programs about marine mammals must promote an improved 
understanding of and an appreciation for these animals and their 
ecosystems.
    NOTE: In addition to direct observation, a variety of other 
techniques and stimuli may be used to effectively communicate member 
programs' educational messages. These methods may include, but are not 
limited to, some of the following:
    * Audio-visual materials
    * Community outreach
    * Formal education programs
    * Guided tours
    * Instructional guides/curricula
    * Interactive exhibits/programs
    * Interpretive graphics
    * Narration at exhibits
    * Off-site education programs
    * Public presentations
    * Public Shows
    * Recreation programs
    * Special needs programs (e.g., disabled, senior citizens)
    * Species identification labels
    * Teacher training
    * Written materials/publications
    2. Education programs about marine mammals must offer multiple 
levels of learning opportunities for visitors to expand their knowledge 
about these animals.
    NOTE: Multiple levels of learning opportunities refers to providing 
educational information for visitors who have different levels of 
knowledge and interest. For example, basic introductory programming 
might offer viewing of animals, species identification, and/or a public 
show or presentation. More advanced programming might include, for 
example, formal education programs, guided tours, and/or written or 
audio-visual material designed to meet the needs of individuals who 
which additional information.
    3. Education programs about marine mammals must present information 
about these animals, their ecosystem, or marine wildlife conservation 
that is based upon the best current scientific knowledge.
    NOTE: The best current scientific knowledge refers to information 
based on the growing body of scientific research about marine mammals 
science and the basic knowledge that is professionally recognized by 
relevant disciplines, such as biology, physiology, anatomy, veterinary 
medicine, and/or animal behavior science.
    4. A qualified individual must be designated and responsible for 
the development of, and administration of, education programs about 
marine mammals.
    NOTE: Qualified refers to having a bachelor's degree, education 
experience, administrative skills, and knowledge about marine mammals.
    5. Education programs about marine mammals must include a written 
education plan consisting of a mission statement, goals, and an 
evaluation strategy.
    NOTE: The education plan should reflect current facility programs. 
Evaluations are intended for internal program review, and each facility 
will have discretion in determining the methods used and the scope and 
frequency of the evaluations.
    6. Education programs about marine mammals must include 
availability of institution experts as a marine science resource to 
professional groups and the education community when appropriate and 
practicable.
    NOTE: Public display facilities employ and collaborate with many 
highly knowledgeable and experienced marine mammal experts, such as 
animal behaviorists, veterinarians, research scientists, trainers, and 
marine education and other specialists. When appropriate and 
practicable, facilities should encourage and facilitate opportunities 
for these specialists to serve as marine science resources and share 
their expertise with interested professional groups and the education 
community.

    Dated: September 30, 1994.
William W. Fox, Jr.,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 94-24787 Filed 10-5-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-F