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Marine Mammal Working Group


The Marine Mammal Working Group (MMWG) of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) deals with marine mammal management related issues beyond that of harvesting. There are many current issues with respect to the non-consumptive use of marine mammals such as commercial and recreational whale watching. The benefits and beneficiaries of such non-consumptive use are significant and diversified.

The appeal of marine mammal related tourism reflects a trend in interest and awareness, particularly in relation to marine mammals in their natural habitat. The MMWG works to provide guidance for non-consumptive uses of marine mammals.

The MMWG aims to ensure the precautionary approach is applied to the management of marine mammals used for non-harvest activities that are carried out in Canadian waters. In considering management measures, the MMWG calls for the application of the latest scientific research and knowledge, while allowing for exemptions and flexibility to take into account differences related to a particular species or area.

The MMWG is guided by the principle that marine mammals are a common property resource to be managed for the benefit of all Canadians. This is consistent with: conservation objectives; the constitutional protection afforded to Aboriginal and treaty rights; and, and the benefits that various uses of the resource afford to Canadian society. The goal of the MMWG is to find cohesion and a commonality in Canada's approaches to the management and conservation of marine mammals.


The mandate of the MMWG is to ensure a consistent and coordinated national management approach to marine mammals by:


Membership consists of:

MMWG will invite other persons from the Department who are not MMWG members to participate/observe as appropriate.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Chair is responsible for preparing the agenda, in consultation with the members, distributing relevant materials and chairing the meetings. The NHQ representative will be the chair.

Members are responsible for:

NHQ staff will provide any summary records of MMWG meetings and teleconferences and will disseminate them to participants. Members will provide any relevant notes taken to assist in the preparation of summary records.

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