United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Apr 17, 2024

§ 1421a.
Determination; data collection and dissemination
(a)
Determination for release

The Secretary shall, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, the Marine Mammal Commission, and individuals with knowledge and experience in marine science, marine mammal science, marine mammal veterinary and husbandry practices, and marine conservation, including stranding network participants, develop objective criteria, after an opportunity for public review and comment, to provide guidance for determining at what point a rehabilitated marine mammal is releasable to the wild.

(b)
Collection
The Secretary shall, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, collect and update, periodically, existing information on—
(1)
procedures and practices for—
(A)
rescuing and rehabilitating stranded or entangled marine mammals, including criteria used by stranding network participants, on a species-by-species basis, for determining at what point a marine mammal undergoing rescue and rehabilitation is returnable to the wild; and
(B)
collecting, preserving, labeling, and transporting marine mammal tissues for physical, chemical, and biological analyses;
(2)
appropriate scientific literature on marine mammal health, disease, and rehabilitation;
(3)
strandings and entanglements, including unusual mortality events, which the Secretary shall compile and analyze, by stranding region, to monitor species, numbers, conditions, and causes of illnesses and deaths of stranded marine mammals and entangled marine mammals to allow comparison of the causes of illness and deaths in stranded marine mammals and entangled marine mammals with physical, chemical, and biological environmental parameters; and
(4)
other life history and reference level data, including marine mammal tissue analyses.
(c)
Information required to be submitted and collected
(1)
In general
After each response to a stranding or entanglement event, the Secretary shall collect (including from any staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that respond directly to such an event), and shall require each stranding network participant who responds to that stranding or entanglement to submit to the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service—
(A)
data on the stranding event, including NOAA Form 89–864 (OMB #0648–0178), NOAA Form 89–878 (OMB #0648–0178), similar successor forms, or similar information in an appropriate format required by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for species under its management authority;
(B)
supplemental data to the data described in subparagraph (A), which may include, as available, relevant information about—
(i)
weather and tide conditions;
(ii)
offshore human, predator, or prey activity;
(iii)
morphometrics;
(iv)
behavior;
(v)
health assessments;
(vi)
life history samples; or
(vii)
stomach and intestinal contents; and
(C)
data and results from laboratory analysis of tissues, which may include, as appropriate and available—
(i)
histopathology;
(ii)
toxicology;
(iii)
microbiology;
(iv)
virology; or
(v)
parasitology.
(2)
Timeline
A stranding network participant shall submit—
(A)
the data described in paragraph (1)(A) not later than 30 days after the date of a response to a stranding or entanglement event;
(B)
the compiled data described in paragraph (1)(B) not later than 30 days after the date on which the data is available to the stranding network participant; and
(C)
the compiled data described in paragraph (1)(C) not later than 30 days after the date on which the laboratory analysis has been reported to the stranding network participant.
(3)
Online data input system

The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, in consultation with the stranding network and the Office of Evaluation Sciences of the General Services Administration, shall establish an online system for the purposes of efficient and timely submission of data described in paragraph (1).

(d)
Availability of data
(1)
In general
(A)
to improve real-time coordination of response to stranding and entanglement events across geographic areas and between stranding coordinators;
(B)
to identify and quickly disseminate information on potential public health risks;
(C)
to facilitate integrated interdisciplinary research;
(D)
to facilitate peer-reviewed publications;
(E)
to archive regional data into 1 national database for future analyses; and
(F)
for education and outreach activities.
(2)
Access to data
The Secretary shall ensure that any data or metadata collected under subsection (c)—
(A)
by staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that responded directly to a stranding or entanglement event is available to the public through the Health MAP and the Observation System not later than 30 days after that data or metadata is collected by, available to, or reported to the Secretary; and
(B)
by a stranding network participant that responded directly to a stranding or entanglement event is made available to the public through the Health MAP and the Observation System 2 years after the date on which that data are submitted to the Secretary under subsection (c).
(3)
Exceptions
(A)
Written release

Notwithstanding paragraph (2)(B), the Secretary may make data described in paragraph (2)(B) publicly available earlier than 2 years after the date on which that data are submitted to the Secretary under subsection (c), if the stranding network participant has completed a written release stating that such data may be made publicly available.

(B)
Law enforcement

Notwithstanding paragraph (2), the Secretary may withhold data for a longer period than the period of time described in paragraph (2) in the event of a law enforcement action or legal action that may be related to that data.

(e)
Standards
The Secretary, in consultation with the marine mammal stranding community, shall—
(1)
make publicly available guidance about uniform data and metadata standards to ensure that data collected in accordance with this section can be archived in a form that is readily accessible and understandable to the public through the Health MAP and the Observation System; and
(2)
periodically update such guidance.
(f)
Management policy

In collaboration with the regional stranding networks, the Secretary shall develop, and periodically update, a data management and public outreach collaboration policy for stranding or entanglement events.

(g)
Authorship agreements and acknowledgment policy

The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, shall include authorship agreements or other acknowledgment considerations for use of data by the public, as determined by the Secretary.

(h)
Savings clause

The Secretary shall not require submission of research data that are not described in subsection (c).

(Pub. L. 92–522, title IV, § 402, formerly title III, § 302, as added Pub. L. 102–587, title III, § 3003(a), Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 5061; renumbered title IV, § 402, Pub. L. 103–238, § 24(b), Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 565; amended Pub. L. 117–263, div. J, title CIV, § 10401, Dec. 23, 2022, 136 Stat. 3981.)
cite as: 16 USC 1421a