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Ocean and Coastal Law Enforcement: Enforcing Protected Species Laws in the Marine Environment


August 10, 2012


Washington, DC

Compliance is critical to the successful conservation and protection of marine mammals and threatened and endangered marine species. Compliance can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms including the use of enforcement to halt and deter illegal actors. The major U.S. statutes established to protect threatened and endangered species and marine mammals - including the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) - require effective land-based and at-sea enforcement in order to achieve these statutes' objectives. This means ensuring compliance in 3 million square miles of ocean to protect species in U.S. waters, as well as the use of trade barriers to prevent the illegal trade in endangered species in waters in and beyond U.S. jurisdiction. In addition to the logistics of ocean enforcement, agencies charged with protecting marine species face growing challenges in the form of funding and personnel constraints.

The panel featured expert speakers whose experiences with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Greenpeace provided the foundation for discussion of key challenges, success stories, and potential opportunities to strengthen marine protected species enforcement.


  • Jordan Diamond, Deputy Director, Ocean Program, Environmental Law Institute



  • Tracy Dunn, Acting Deputy Director, NOAA Office of Law Enforcement
  • Phil Kline, Senior Ocean Campaigner, Greenpeace U.S.
  • Steven Tucker, Deputy Chief for Marine Protected Species, U.S. Coast Guard
  • John Webb, Former Assistant Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice





The 2012 Ocean Seminar Series is generously supported by
the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation.

Click here for more information on ELI's Ocean Seminar Series